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The GO-Science Futures Toolkit

Tools for horizon scanning and futures thinking in government

Waverley worked with the Government Office of Science to produce their Futures Toolkit for policy makers and analysts.


The Futures Toolkit is a resource that policy professionals can use to embed long term strategic thinking in the policy and strategy process.  It provides an introduction to futures thinking and examines some of the important design questions that policy makers need to consider when introducing it into the policy process.

The tools are organised according to their primary purpose - gathering intelligence about the future, exploring the dynamics of change, describing what the future might be like and testing policy and strategy - and the procedures are set out in detail. There are also a number of pathways that demonstrate how to combine tools to meet specific needs.



The Toolkit is practical rather than theoretical and each tool and pathway describes the design and facilitation steps required to deliver the technique. It is based on GO-Science’s own experience of running futures work and has been developed in collaboration with other government departments and futures practitioners who use these tools regularly in a wide range of settings.

The Toolkit can be downloaded here, either in full or in part.

There are 10 chapters.​

  1. Introduction

  2. Introduction to futures thinking

  3. Designing a futures project

  4. Using the Toolkit

  5. Pathways designed to meet specific business needs​

  6. Tools for gathering intelligence about the future

  7. Tools for exploring the dynamics of change

  8. Tools for describing what the future might be like

  9. Tools for developing and testing policy and strategy

  10. Evaluating the impact of using the tools

There are seven annexes:

      Annex 1: Sample horizon scanning and futures material

      Annex 2: Glossary of horizon scanning and futures terms

      Annex 3: Frequently Asked Questions

      Annex 4: Introducing metrics into scenario thinking

      Annex 5: Case Studies

      Annex 6: Wider set of futures tools

      Annex 7: References and further resources

Click on the relevant icon to download a particular section.

The Futures Toolkit

Designing a

 Futures Project

Introduction to

 Futures Thinking


The Tools

Using the


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Training Slides (extract)

Sample Horizon Scanning and Futures Material

FAQ and Glossary

Introducing Metrics

Case Studies and Wider Set of Tools


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