|Proceedings of the Strategic Foresight Workshop
The objectives of this workshop were to (1) gain experience in identifying and operationally defining trends and potential events that are critical to the future of higher education in the Middle East, (2) gain experience in forecasting trends and potential events and their implications for higher education, (3) learn how to use a highly effective small group technique (the Nominal Group Technique) to maximize goal achievement when people have little experience in working as a team, and (4) discuss environmental scanning approaches and new technological developments like EndNote Web that can enhance the effectiveness of our use of scanning databases.
The pedagogical rationale underlying the workshop was that of active learning: We learn by doing. The materials relating to the objectives were presented on the website with the expectation that participants would review them prior to attending so that we could focus on doing during the workshop itself, with the facilitator’s role being that introducing the various tools (trend/event identification, PI Chart, Impact Network) useful in external analysis and responding to delegate’s work as they used the tools.
These proceedings should be viewed as a compilation of the information/analyses developed during the workshop as well an opportunity for further instruction. In this sense, the proceedings are a draft document requiring additional input from participants to which the facilitator will respond by incorporating the additional input and, perhaps, commenting on it. All participants are encouraged to respond to the bold notes in brackets that comment on that aspect of the proceedings or request information in order to increase the usefulness of the proceedings.
An unannounced objective soon became clear as we proceeded in the workshop: workshop participants were in decision-making positions and had a wealth of experience in higher education in the Middle East. Therefore, it was in everyone’s interest to use the workshop as an opportunity to get to know other participants as well as possible. In order to facilitate this objective, we changed groups from day one to day two, making sure that each person had an opportunity to work with at least six different people during the two-day period, which is reflected in the group compositions identified in the proceedings for each exercise.
Workshop participants identified by name, position, and organization are described here.
To review the proceedings from the exercises used in the workshop, please click on the following links:
Critical trends defining the context of higher education in the Middle East
Critical events that have some probability of occurrence in the next ten years and the signals that they could occur
Forecasting the probability and impact of selected critical events
Forecasting the chain of events/implications if a selected critical event occurs