Horizon Scanning: A Practitioners Guide revealed at IRM Risk Leaders


The Innovation Special Interest Group (ISIG) of the IRM revealed the first copies of the Horizon Scanning: A Practitioners Guide at the 2018 IRM Risk Leaders conference in London.

During 2017 the ISIG, led by Mark Turner, were inspired by IRM’s Risk Agenda 2025 to develop further thinking on ‘Horizon Scanning’ which came out of the review as an area where the risk manager will need to be more active.

With this in mind he pulled together  a small team of interested volunteers to facilitate two workshops attended by over eighty risk professionals at the 2017 Risk Leaders conference.  These workshops produced a significant amount of information, which the ISIG set about analysing and interpreting into a practical guide.

Helping with the task, Dr. Rodrigo Silva de Souza said,

“there was a lot of unstructured data from the workshops.  Initial analysis revealed some common themes along the lines of what users needed to know about conducting horizon scanning. In addition, it also revealed that they wanted guidance on how such activities should be visualised and then reported to senior management.”

Taking the results of the workshop as the key topics, a dozen members of the Innovation SIG set out to research and write the document.  During the writing phase, the UK Government published the “Futures Toolkit”.  This influential document helped the ISIG to focus their report on how commercial and charitable organisations should make best use of the horizon scanning tool.

Sheila Milbourne was one of the authors. She said,

“having the government document released at the time of writing reassured us that we were tapping into a hot topic. It also reinforced the need for a practitioners guide for all types of organisations, not only government.”

Clive Thompson, IRM Director and one of the lead authors said,

“this is a timely piece of work and demonstrates the power of the Special Interest Group model to help all in the risk community. I have enjoyed working with my fellow professionals and with the help of the Institute we have produced something which will be of real value to anyone interested in building a resilient organisation.”


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