Universities continue to undergo a process of transformation as their purpose, their relevance and the way their work is carried out is challenged. The increasingly global marketplace for higher education requires a perspective very different to that provided by traditional strategic planning. What will be the impact of transformation and globalisation on the university as an organisation? How should universities respond to position themselves for the future, 10-20 years hence? And how should individual universities plan for the future? Foresight is a process which allows people in an organisation to develop a coherent forward view and to imagine, explore and assess a range of possible futures. It is not about prediction, but it is about informing strategy. Foresight is used extensively by both business and governments across the world including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Germany and Australia. In education, foresight is manifested in academic programs in futures studies and in scenario planning. Thinking about the future is not new —foresight is an innate human capacity and we all do it to some degree already Foresight seeks to tap into these existing capacities to inform organisational planning and to use the outcomes in organisationally useful ways. This paper discusses how foresight can inform strategy and reports on how foresight is being introduced into strategy processes at Swinburne University of Technology Initial implementation is through the use of scenarios within a framework of a broader educational process designed to introduce the organisation to foresight, its purpose, methodologies and benefits. The paper will provide information about the process, the results to date and, perhaps most importantly the challenges and surprises encountered in introducing an approach which sounds a bit too much like crystal ball gazing.
Please note erratum in the next issue's editorial showing that acknowledgement of Joseph Voros as co-author had been omitted from the original article. See: Editorial, Australasian Association for Institutional Research, Vol. 12, no. 2 (October 2003), http://www.aair.org.au/jir/Oct03/Editorial.htm