Strategic Foresight for Leadership

Many of the challenging issues we face in our organisations and communities cannot be addressed by solely applying a technical fix – a carbon tax, a NAPLAN test, a new building. These issues require more systemic thinking and an ability to hold paradox while we experiment with the political, personal, and uncertain dimensions of the problem. These issues require “adaptive leadership” a term coined by Heifetz, Grashow & Linksy to describe a process that allows us to respond and adapt to these complex environments.

Strategic foresight is a critical skill for adaptive leadership. Foresight concepts like scanning widely, understanding deep drivers of change, and acknowledging different images of the future can all be applied to enrich diagnoses and broaden possible responses.

With this in mind we have developed a series of strategic foresight modules with the Leaders’ Institute of South Australia (LISA) in support of their leadership development programs and services. These include:

  • A Leading Insights presentation on Tuesday 10th July 2012 for GLF Alumni and the public on why strategic foresight is an important component of adaptive leadership and how foresight skills can be developed (Slides from the presentation available here)
  • A one-day module within the new Integral Leader program in which participants will learn more about the tools and techniques they can use to develop breath, depth and vision.
  • A two-day module on Strategic Development for community boards that extends foresight skills and covers intent, strategic thinking, strategic planning  and measuring strategic outcomes.
These activities with LISA draw on our experience in teaching Foresight & Social Change at the University of Adelaide and providing strategic facilitation services to a range of clients from government, not-for-profit, research and corporate sectors.

Dr Kristin Alford is a 2011 Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation designed and delivered by LISA.


  1. […] been working with the Leaders’ Institute of South Australia in developing modules on Strategic Foresight. These modules have been delivered as a component in the Integral Leader Course, as well as part […]

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