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The following professional development seminars/workshops have been successfully used in pre- or post-conference association sessions as well as in organizational settings. They describe and illustrate how organizations can use such tools as environmental scanning, vulnerability/opportunity audits, issues management, scenarios and other tools of anticipatory management to plan more effectively. For the conceptual and methodological underpinning of these tools, please see Morrison, Renfro, and Boucher's Futures Research and the Strategic Planning Process, Ashley and Morrison's Anticipatory Management Tools for the 21st Century and Anticipatory Management: Tools for Better Decision Making, Morrison and Wilson's The Strategic Management Response to the Challenge of Global Change, Morrison and Wilson's Analyzing Environments and Developing Scenarios for Uncertain Times, Morrison and Keller's Newest Tool: The Institutional Vulnerability Audit, and Morrison, Forbes and Wilkinson's Common Sense Management for Educational Leaders.

Workshops and Seminars: Foresight, Scanning, VOA Audit, Anticipatory IM, Scenarios, Transforming Hi Ed, TEALS, Futurizing the Organization

Strategic Planning/Foresight

Using foresight tools is an essential component of anticipating the future in order to plan and manage more effectively. Below are examples of workshops designed to enhance skills in using these tools:

Environmental Scanning

Environmental scanning is a tool to identify signals of change in the external environment in order to gain lead time to respond or to adapt to these signals. It is a critical component of an effective strategic planning system. This seminar is designed to assist individuals to systematically factor the external environment into their decision making through developing and sustaining an environmental scanning system. The process is described in the following publications: (1) James L. Morrison, "Environmental Scanning." In M. A. Whitely, J. D. Porter, and R. H. Fenske (Eds.), A Primer for New Institutional Researchers (pp. 86-99). Tallahassee, Florida: The Association for Institutional Research. 1992; (2) James L. Morrison and Ian Wilson, Analyzing Environments and Developing Scenarios for Uncertain Times and (3) Edward G. Simpson, Jr., Donna L. McGinty, and James L. Morrison, Environmental Scanning at the University of Georgia: A Progress Report.

Programs and agendas of environmental scanning workshops:

Proceedings from previously conducted environmental scanning seminars:

Vulnerability/Opportunity Audit (VOA)

The purpose of this "hands-on" seminar is for participants to gain experience in this relatively new, but intuitively appealing and relatively inexpensive approach to planning. It is designed as a series of exercises to give participants experience in using VOA tools and techniques so that they can conduct an organizational vulnerability/opportunity audit in their own organizations. The method is described in James L. Morrison and George Keller's article, "Newest Tool: The Institutional Vulnerability Audit," Planning for Higher Education (Volume 21, Winter 1992-93, pp. 27-34 and is republished here with permission of the Society for College and University of Planning (SCUP). An example of the use of this tool in a preconference workshop at the 1995 Annual Meeting of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) is available here.

Anticipatory Issues Management (AIM)

Educational organizations function in an environment of unprecedented turbulence and change. Anticipatory issues management (AIM) is an effective planning approach to anticipating, integrating, and channeling change in desired directions. It is a tool educational leaders may use to frame significant issues and forge proactive solutions.

The seminar begins by focusing on the concept underlying anticipatory issues management, issues life cycles, and then turns to specific AIM tools and techniques:

  • establishing the AIM organizational structure
  • developing an environmental scanning process to identify emerging issues
  • training issue action teams
  • writing issue briefs
  • using the 10-step issues assessment process

This approach is described in William C. Ashley and James L. Morrison (1995), Anticipatory Management. Leesburg, VA: Issue Action Press, in two articles, Anticipatory Management Tools for the 21st Century and Anticipatory Management: Tools for Better Decision Making, and in the proceedings of an Anticipatory Issues Management seminar conducted at The Fourth Global Change International Higher Education Strategic Management Seminar.


Scenarios reveal the flow process of an evolving future. They are holistic, combining social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends and events. They focus our attention on the branching points of the future, the potential contingencies and discontinuities. By basing decisions on alternative futures, and by testing planning actions against the different conditions these scenarios present, we learn how to prepare for uncertainty and to ensure that our decisions can deal with contingencies, even those deemed unthinkable. And by having thought the unthinkable, we become better prepared to see the opportunities as well as the threats in any situation. This approach is described in Analyzing Environments and Developing Scenarios for Uncertain Times, and in the keynote paper, The Strategic Management Response to the Challenge of Global Change and the proceedings of a scenario-based planning seminar conducted at The Fifth Global Change Strategic Management Seminar, St Andrews University. A three-day scenario planning seminar was implemented for the Electrical and Electronic Institute of Thailand in September, 2003; a draft of the proceedings is now available. 

Transforming Higher Education

Transforming Higher Education: An Intrernational Collaborative Workshop uses practical examples and cases studies of transformation in academic programs, facilities, and the academic culture. The workshop format includes a combination of collaboration, workshop activity, and consultation. Review an example of this workshop and its proceedings conducted in Christchurch, New Zealand, July 24-26, 1996. You may also want to review a related manuscript titled, Using the Futures Program as a Tool for Transformation: A Case Study of Lincoln University, New Zealand. Two other useful references on this topic are Michael Hooker's "The Transformation of Higher Education," published in Oblinger and Rush's The Learning Revolution and James Morrison's "Transforming Educational Organizations."

Using Technology to Enhance Learning is a workshop primarily for faculty and staff members interested in integrating technology in instruction. You may review the agenda for this workshop conducted at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City October 25, 1996.

A presentation/workshop titled "Teaching, Learning, and Research in 21st century Community colleges" was conducted at the 28th annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Community College Research in Norfolk, Virginia August 1-4, 1999. A similar workshop titled "What Lies Ahead for Community Colleges" was conducted for the Summer Institute of the American Association of Community College Presidents Academy in Asheville, NC, July 2011.


Technology-Enabled Active Learning Strategies (TEALS)

One of the major obstacles to implementing technology-enabled active learning strategies is organizational culture. The Technology-Enabled Active Learning Strategies (TEALS) workshop directly addresses these obstacles. This workshop allows participants to first look into the future and its implications for the curriculum, teaching strategies, and students and then explore how TEALS relate to student success, the barriers for implementing TEALS, and how to overcome those barriers. A shorter version of this workshop is described here. A version that can be used in K-12 schools is here. A corresponding workshop illustrates how educational leaders can engage faculty members in their schools/departments in exploring the future and its implications for what they can do now to more effectively prepare their students for the world of work. The first implementation of this workshop was at the International Islamic University Malaysia in January 2011.

Futurizing Your Organization

The leaders of every organization must prepare to operate in a radically different environment. Creating an organization that thinks in the future tense, and acts in the present, is a prerequisite for success in a rapidly changing and uncertain world. Organizational leaders may be required to change techniques, practices and, above all, the organizational culture in order to be effective. This complex, demanding, and time-consuming process was the focus of a workshop at the FutureFocus 2000 conference of the World Future Society, was revised for the WorldView 2002 conference, and was offered at the WorldFuture 2003 conference July 2002 in San Francisco.

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