The role of Environmental Scanning in planning departments

Environmental Scanning (ES) is the process of paying attention to the world in which you operate in order to identify and gain a sense of potential signals of change in how your world is developing. When discussing the idea of ‘change’ we need to be clear – a potential signal of change is likely to be one that alerts you to a possible difference between where you thought you were going, and where you now might be required to go. In other words, ES is about managing the difference between your assumptions and your expectations, and the emerging reality of what is taking shape. For any department that has a planning function (and there are in fact surprisingly few that do not) effective ES provides a key element – time. Effective ES acts as an alert function for staff and management teams so that they can prepare their business to take alternative or additional action. There’s some core elements to an effective ES:

First you’ll need a recognition and acceptance that ES signals can be both formal and informal

Second you’ll need to recognise and accept that effective ES is a distributed function – everyone has the ability to pay attention to the things they feel, see and hear and that they might be picking up valuable clues for the organisation

Third – ES works best when you have a system or framework for both gathering the assorted signals and then analysing them for potential relevance to your workplace. The framework provides a means to sort the useful from the mere noise of day to day operations. We want our ES initiatives to generate useful insights

I developed VSTEEP (Values, Societal, Technology; Economic; Environmental and Political) which is a step beyond the more commonly used STEEP and more functionally useful than PESTLE (where the ‘L’ stands for Legal. I see Legal issues as emanating from the Political process). Whatever model you use, someone has to gather the data and turn it into information. There’s lots of ways to do that and it is not quite as complex or as daunting as it seems and although there’s a few other things I’d recommend, just by following the three steps suggested here, you’ll be well on the way to providing your planning capability with more time to get your future right. And that is after all, what most of us want to achieve

Embracing the Hybrid Workspace – are You there yet?

Nov 15, 2023

I flag my bias towards the need for a vastly improved approach to managing staff in the work environments. V A S T L Y improved. I’m still surprised at how clunky, disorganised or naive some senior managers are when it comes to that part of the business that considers ‘people’. And rather than cover…

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Exploring Strategy Development – the Organisational Evolution model

Oct 17, 2023

An interesting public workshop in Perth in the first week of October introducing a varied group to the Organisational Evolution model. The Org-Ev is the model I developed for the start up of The Australian Strategic Planning Institute in conjunction with Steven Bowman. Given the diversity of the group, there were a number of surprises…

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Perth workshop 5th October almost fully booked

Sep 18, 2023

A note for those of you in Perth that there are just 4 spaces left for the Introduction to the Organisational Evolution Model workshop at Adina Apartments in Perth.  The Org Ev model has been designed to enhance Strategic Planning and decision making and this introductory workshop is aimed at those looking to attend the…

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Delving into Heatwave Scenarios

Sep 12, 2023

Later this month I’ll be facilitating a scenario session looking at the potential impact of a long standing heatwave event for the City of Greater Dandenong here in Australia. Heatwaves kill more people than any other weather event. By a long way. Importantly they also have a ‘fat tail’ with physical impairments to individuals often…

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Introduction to the Organisational Evolution Model workshop in Perth

Sep 9, 2023

Looking Up Feeling Good will be running an workshop on the Organisational Evolution Model in Perth. The Org-Ev model has been used by a wide number of agencies across almost all industry sectors, and was originally developed for the Australian Strategic Planning Institute. The workshop is limited to 25 people and will take place at…

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Sponsoring Vic 55 2s Master’s Hockey

Aug 21, 2023

Looking Up Feeling Good are delighted to be associated with the Victorian over 55 2s at the National Masters Championship coming up in Perth in a few month’s time across September and October. We wish all players well

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Why You Need to Read ‘Invisible Women’ Now

Aug 20, 2023

If you’re involved with setting policy, allocating funding, designing products or services and delivering on them, then one book you simply must have read is the absolutely astounding ‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez. What Perez has done with this book is ALL OF THE RESEARCH you need to have available to you when you…

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Preparing for Heat Waves In a World Primed to Cook

Aug 12, 2023

Are we there yet? Have people finally cottoned on to the idea that maybe, things aren’t going so well for the planet and our place in it? Storms, up; floods, up; fires, up; droughts, up; people being displaced by climate events, up.  The signals are all around us. And yet, as a species we struggle…

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Strategic Impact of Long Term Decision Making

Jul 18, 2023

One of the most challenges aspects for owners of businesses, and also for Boards charged with running businesses, is how to allow for the impact of a decision to unfold over time.  Many listed company Boards will be delaying with a CEO on a limited tenure. The Board will have set expectations for performance and…

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Emerging Risks for Australian LGAs

Jun 8, 2023

Local Governments in Australia face an emerging risk space that many seem unaware of. Brought on by rising costs, especially in business premises rentals, compliance needs and registration costs, research we’ve identified as part of work with a Local Government client is indicating a significant increase in businesses popping up in residential areas. What seems…

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