It’s less than a month until the Inaugural School of International Futures. Alun and I have just come back from Wilton Park where preparations for the retreat go apace, led by the fantastic team of Wendy, Nicola and Julia (who you’ll meet soon). There’s a new programme on the website highlighting new additions to the SOIF line-up: World Bank Strategic Futures author, Mansoor Dailami; Saatchi CEO, Magnus Djaba; and Peter Apps, Reuters risk correspondent, among other excellent new speakers.
I am really looking forward to it too: I am interested in exploring with all of you how we ensure that the long-term is taken into account at a time when we have so many crises to manage. Every headline I see underlines both the challenge and the value of exploring strategic futures – the timing really couldn’t be better!
A quick intro to myself: I used to work in the UK FCO as Strategy Project Director in the Policy Planning Staff, after a stint in the PM’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair. Beforehand, I worked on strategic capability and planning in the private and charity sector. I now advise, research and train (mainly governments) on strategy, including as the Advisor to the UK parliament on an inquiry on Government Strategic Capability, External Adviser to WHISPER (cross-government strategy network) program at the Royal College of Defence Studies, research for US Government on unwrapping weak signals (e.g. on the role of social media in the North African revolutions) and future trends (e.g. work on governance 2030), and training strategy to senior officials from across the world. As part of this work, I examine different countries’ practice, approaches and innovation in the use of strategic foresight. I am particularly interested in issues around: including managing risk, Grand Strategy, future shape of national security and foreign policy, emergent strategy and public participation/engagement, the impact of technology, democracy 2.0, and the future shape of government.
So I am looking forward to meeting you all. I’d like to thank you for coming to this inaugural session of the SOIF – and I hope our exchanges in August at Wilton Park will be just the beginning of an ongoing discussion.