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In 2016, a Panel of distinguished Academy Fellows prepared a report for the future Administration on strategic foresight in governance and the integration of long-term planning in daily policymaking. Their primary question was: How can we best ensure that the long term is properly factored into day-to-day policymaking? It has been done it before – just look back at the race to the Moon or the development of the Internet.

Yet today, government leaders repeatedly fail to assess the potential effect of actions today on events tomorrow—or into the more distant future. To be sure, there are a few selected areas within the U.S. federal government that incorporate a future-oriented focus, such as in the financial, defense, intelligence, and health arenas. In the main, however, senior leaders lack an overarching commitment to address the future impact of current decision-making, even in cases when the potential consequences of today’s actions are easily foreseeable. As a result of this lack of commitment to understanding the potential impact of future trends has contributed to an increase in large-scale government failures over the last two decades.

But such failures are not inevitable. The next President and his / her Administration can take steps to ensure they are not tarred by costly shocks or strategic failures by committing now to integrating the use of Strategic Foresight into their decision-making processes. Get more content like this


The Whitepaper

Bringing Strategic Foresight to Bear in Policy Planning and Management

How can we best ensure that the long term is properly factored into day-to-day policymaking?

Read the whitepaper


Articles on Strategic Foresight


Bringing Strategic Foresight to the Fore

In preparation for the 2008 presidential transition, the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) published an issue paper, Governing with Foresight...

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What Is Strategic Foresight?

Does it make any sense for the government to think long term? We’ve done it before – think about the interstate highway system, the race to the Moon, or the evolution of the Internet. Strategic foresight is not futuristic forecasting...

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Linking Foresight to Decision Making

Strategic foresight can inform national policy in the face of profound uncertainty about what lies ahead. It recognizes the requirement to look beyond the horizon...

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Reflections on Federal Foresight Initiatives in the 1970s

During the 1970s the planning and foresight community worked very hard to incorporate the long view – foresight perspective and practices...

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Strategic Foresight is Rooted in Cross-Agency Collaboration

Cross-agency collaboration is essential for effective strategic foresight. How can existing efforts be improved to achieve this goal?

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Strategic Foresight is a Measurable Activity

The demand for measurable outcomes has historically posed an enduring challenge for Strategic Foresight projects both within and beyond governments. As Robert Shea observes...

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The Value of Strategic Foresight

In discussing the value of strategic foresight, it is important to distinguish it from forecasting. Forecasting seeks to predict discrete events in the future. By contrast, strategic foresight seeks to help...

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Can We Finally Link Foresight To Policy?

We are entering a season when many groups are thinking about how to advise the next Administration on matters of policy, organization, or both. NAPA is now working on this...

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Governing with Foresight

How can a new President assess the risks, challenges, and opportunities of his or her agenda – and more importantly, what actions can be taken now to improve the chances of success or avoid failure?

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The Long Road to Strategic Foresight in the Federal Government

Governments around the world are faced with existing and evolving challenges that require thoughtful, flexible and innovative approaches to address them...

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