Join us for SOIF2019

This five-day retreat teaches the science and art of strategic foresight. Learn the skills you need to understand change and disruption and how to create future-ready organisations in an uncertain and increasingly volatile world.

Harness the power of strategic foresight to support your organisation and improve decision-making today.

Build your network and practice with fellow decision-makers, policy-makers and strategists as part of a global community of practice.

Learn “foresight with impact” while exploring our 2019 themes of foresight and prevention, the links between foresight, philanthropy and systems change, and a geopolitical live challenge on the future of global leadership and alliances.

Register for SOIF2019

A Focus on Foresight and Impact

Understand the science of strategic foresight and how it can be used to make a real difference in your organisation. Learn SOIF’s four stage process for Foresight with Impact, and practical tools and methods. Start your learning before you arrive at the retreat, and gain support contextualise and embed these in your organisation after you leave.

Appreciate the art of strategic foresight through panel discussions and debates with expert practitioners and leaders who have successfully used foresight to influence decision-making.

Develop confidence and practical experience in the craft by working through a “live” policy challenge on the future of global leadership and shifts in future global alliances during guided practical sessions

Gain insight into our 2019 themes an exploration of the link between philanthropy and foresight and a methodological focus on foresight and prevention – how recent developments can support foresight to help sectors to become more anticipatory rather than reactive, to tackle challenges around political will and short-termism, including through the use of emerging techniques for modelling, big data and AI

A focus on impact, leadership and capacity-building – Our retreats are best suited to leaders who want to shape the future of their organisation, community or sector. The course is designed to help you understand how to use foresight with impact

Leave a confident commissioner and intelligent user of futures. Learn the skills and techniques needed to create change and to communicate the impact of foresight work with practical ideas for implementing foresight in your organisation

Who should attend?

Attendance is limited to 24 participants.

Whether you set the strategic direction for your organisation, lead a strategy or innovation unit, are setting up your own foresight function, or are just curious about the future you will benefit from the new analytical and professional perspectives SOIF2019 provides. If you have already taken part in strategic foresight exercises or are new to the field, you will learn the skills and techniques needed to create change in your organisation and to communicate the impact of your foresight work.

Participants work at a senior level in strategy, policy, leadership and analytical roles in governments, NGOs, international organisations and businesses. Previous participants include representatives from Chevron; Delma Institute, UAE; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; European External Action Service; Garten Rothkopf; Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology; McKinsey and Company; National Commission of Security, Mexico; Save the Children; Shell Global; The African Public Policy and Research Institute; United Nations; UK Ministry of Defence.

SOIF is international – Our retreats draw attendees from all six continents, and we typically have over 20 nationalities at each retreat.

SOIF builds a community — Whether you are a foresight practitioner, user or commissioner, we help you build connections with people working to solve the same kinds of problems you are facing.

Discussion is conducted under the Chatham House Rule to provide you with the space to reflect, exchange insights and build lasting relationships.


Sessions are led by SOIF Faculty, supported by more than 15 expert speakers – commissioners, practitioners and users of foresight, as well as private and public sector policy planning/government leads and experts in futures thinking, design and data.

Confirmed speakers include:

Kristel Van der Elst Co-Founder and CEO, The Global Foresight Group; Director General, Canada Policy Horizons
Sophie Howe Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
Alioune Sall Founder and Executive Director of the African Futures Institute
Wellington Nogueira Actor, Clown, Teacher; Founder of Doutores da Alegria (Doctors of Joy)
Mhairi Cameron Composer, Oceanborn: A New Musical
Nicholas Colloff Director of Argidius Foundation and former Director of Innovation at Oxfam GB
Rosemarie Forsythe Former Director, International Political Strategy at ExxonMobil and Former White House National Security Council Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs
Mat Burrows Director of Strategic Foresight, Atlantic Council, Washington D.C. Former Counsellor, U.S. National Intelligence Council and principal drafter, NIC publication Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds

Previous years’ speakers include: Jim Dator, pre-eminent futurist and political scientist; President Tarja Halonen, 11th President of Finland; Anne Marie Slaughter, President of New America Foundation; Amy Zalman, former CEO, World Future Society; Jill Wong, Director, Strategic Policy Office, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore; Betty Sue Flowers, poet and author of the “Power of Myth”, Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal, Co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge; and Natalie Bennett, Leader Green Party of England and Wales.

Pricing and Registration

SOIF2019 takes place at Hartwell House, near Aylesbury, UK. This historic house provides an intimate setting for debate, ‘fireside chats’ and creativity in the British countryside.

If you’d like to join us, please start by completing the application form and registering your interest.

In the application form, you will be asked to provide some information about you and your motivations for attending. We will then review this and contact you to let you know if we need any more information before we can confirm your registration. We want to ensure that attendees will be able to get the most out of the course, and will let you know if we don’t think the retreat is the right fit.

Once approved, we will then confirm your place and look forward to welcoming you to SOIF2019.

Pricing information

Participant fee:

  • Corporate £4,900* (Early bird rate until 31 January 2019: £4,400)
  • Non-profit: £3,575* (Early bird rate until 31 January 2019: £3,025)

Accommodation fee:: GBP 1,300*

The Accommodation fee includes use of the facilities at Hartwell House, including four nights’ accommodation, spa, meals and airport transfer from/to London Heathrow airport.

Once your registration has been confirmed, we will send you an invoice and payment will be due within 14 days. You will be asked during the application process to confirm your organisation type, and desired payment method. Payment can be made by bacs, or online by card (organisations will be subject to a 2 percent surcharge).

Cancellation terms
If you cancel within seven days of making payment we will refund you the retreat fee in full. After this period, SOIF will make a charge for any registrations cancelled before or during the retreat to cover the costs of administration and cancelling rooms, as follows:

Before 16 March 2019: 15% cancellation charge
16 March 2019 to 18 May 2019:50% cancellation charge
After 19 May 2019: 100% cancellation charge

*All prices are quoted exclusive of UK VAT which will be charged at 20% if applicable

Any Questions?

Any questions, not ready to apply, but want to find out more?

Contact us at: +44 (0)300 302 0486 | | @SOIFutures #SOIF2019


The mix of fascinating people, challenging questions, and powerful models and methods created an incredible learning experience.

Founding Executive Director Human Systems Dynamics institute

As a social impact program, I would recommend it to any foresight practitioner and anybody who is concerned about the future. It is made up of exciting speakers and a great team behind the program, who are very helpful, supportive, and the live challenge is the icing on the cake.

Kaduna Electric

Since my participation in the Mont Fleur scenarios more than 20 years ago I rarely witnessed a more impressive learning experience.

Scenario Planning Consutant

It’s brilliant, to bring together so many nationalities throughout the world, to think through these things in one place. It’s ten out of ten.

Executive Director African Public Policy & Research Institute

A big thank you from me to you and your team for last week. It was both inspirational and relevant, which is increasingly challenging to achieve in today’s world.

Lloyd's Register Foundation

Perfectly calibrated course. Quality, excellent. Great speakers. Practical tools and practical suggestions

United Nations Development Programme

Very professional. Well designed and organised. High quality of faculty.

Scenario Planning Team Shell Global

Excellent teaching modules, tools and activities

Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology

Curious what to expect? Read our blog post from SOIF2017.

Or download last years’ programme

The School of International Futures is a treasure that anybody interested in managing for the future should not miss.

Director, Strategic Foresight Initiative Atlantic Council
Tomas Ries at SOIF2015

The School of International Futures offers high-quality presenters, varied and robust methodologies, and an opportunity to network with other futures practitioners from around the globe.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand

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