Natural resource management organizations carry out a range of activities to examine possible future conditions and trends as part of their planning process, but the distinct approach of formal horizon scanning is often a missing component of strategic thinking and strategy development in these organizations. Horizon scanning is a process for finding and interpreting early indications of change in the external environment of an organization or field. Effective horizon scanning serves as an early warning system to identify potential opportunities and threats, enable decisionmakers to plan accordingly and take timely action, and foster a culture of foresight throughout an organization. This paper reviews and discusses the key items needed to create an effective horizon scanning system: conceptual frameworks, organizational approaches, design principles, techniques to improve effectiveness, and techniques for analyzing and interpreting scanning results.
Bengston, David N. 2013. Horizon scanning for environmental foresight: a review of issues and approaches. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-121. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 20 p.