Horizon Scanning and Trend Analysis
As one of the most common futures and foresight tools, this tool centres on researching and understanding trends as well as scanning the horizon for emerging issues or weak signals. This data is then used to consider and model potential impacts on vulnerable communities, service delivery, and organisational operations. Many National Societies throughout the world conduct horizon scanning and trends analysis formally, and they are used as mechanisms to help better understand shifting landscapes and contexts.
The IFRC has a Global Lead for Horizon Scanning and Trends Analysis, who is managing a formal approach to scanning and trend analysis and exploring how these can be fed into the organisation so as to influence policy, planning, strategy, and operational decision making. The position also works with National Societies to encourage collaboration on scanning and trend analysis across the globe and to ensure that internal expertise is being leveraged to the wider benefit of our network. We partner with a range of external stakeholders to ensure that we are incorporating expert opinions and research into our data.
We are currently building our own internal capacity in a range of other tools and methods, such as scenario planning, visioning, and experiential futures.
Using sophisticated approaches to data collection and modelling, some organisations are able to forecast possible patterns and potential events. Forecast-Based Financing implemented by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the German Red Cross is one such example. This innovative partnership employs data and scientific analysis to estimate triggers and thresholds that may forecast the likelihood of natural emergencies and then proactively release resources and mobilise actions before the disaster strikes. Learn more about Forecast-based Financing here. The Finnish Red Cross along with external academic and research partners are exploring climate and population data modelling to help inform future challenges and strategies for the Red Cross and Red Crescent.