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national school of government

Leading in an Open World 

Outsights designed a module for The National School of Government's Top Management Programme to help the most senior people from the UK and Abu Dhabi public sectors think beyond today, using a 20-year time horizon to stretch their thinking and a common theme of interest, "Leading in an Open World". The Top Management Programme, which brings together senior people from diverse sectors, used this module to refresh the core skill sets of participants, and to ensure that the Programme continued to be highly interactive and creative, as well as having the highest standards of intellectual stimulus.


The module was designed with three main objectives:


  • To stimulate thinking from an "outside-in" perspective, so that participants can think openly and creatively about future uncertainties and possible developments in the wider (external) world.
  • To encourage a strategic and meaningful dialogue about the external forces shaping change.
  • To help participants create a broad framework for how the future might develop and the implications for action by the UK, organisations and individuals.


Managing Future Uncertainty

In a fast-paced, highly interactive events, Outsights worked with more than 150 of the most senior people across the UK and Abu Dhabi public services to help them think more broadly about future uncertainty, and how to put this into a leadership context. 


In the first phase of the workshop, Outsights proprietary Drivers of Change material, together with structured brainstorming from participants, identified a diverse range of macro drivers for the future. Participants then formed groups to make sense of this "data", to filter and prioritise the external drivers and to stretch these into the future, through the creation of a clear set of Scenarios. They then identified the implications of the thinking for the UK, their own organisations and for themselves.


Incorporating the Future 

At the end of the training session, participants learned how Scenario building added value as a tool to stretch organisational and individual thinking as well as identified tangible and practical implications for organisations in the short-to-medium term. Selected participant comments are below:


"This has changed my normal way of looking at the future."


"The testing of plans against the Scenarios was very valuable."


"We must move away from a silo-based plan."