Kent County 2050

About Strategic Foresight

Kent County 2050 is using strategic foresight to build a vision for its future.

graphic showing the foresight process

What is strategic foresight?

Strategic foresight is a four-phase process. Kent County 2050 is focusing on the first three phases:

  1. Sensing the STEEP/R (Society, Technology, Economy, Environment, Politics/Regulation) trends that will impact our residents and communities through 2050. Kent County’s STEEP/R trends are here.
  2. Imagining different kinds of futures: a challenging future, an expectable future, and two different visionary futures.
  3. Defining what we - a cross section of community leaders, activists, and organizations - must get right to ensure the best possible future for residents through 2050.

How is this process different than strategic planning?

Strategic planning and strategic foresight are different in several important ways:

  • Strategic planning starts with today (usually a SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Foresight starts with the future — what’s coming? The STEEP/R trend analysis helps us see the forces that will shape our future.
  • Strategic planning focuses on near-term plans of three to five years. Kent County 2050 is looking ahead to 2050.
  • Strategic planning focuses on one hoped-for future. Foresight considers several plausible futures ranging from challenging to surprisingly successful.

Want to learn more about strategic foresight?

Here are two resources from Kent County 2050's consultant, Rebecca Ryan, to get you started:

Blog: New to Foresight? Start here.

Video: What is strategic foresight?