Writing the implementation plan

Online Foresight Guide

Planning implementation of the exercise

At the end of the design phase you will need to draw up an implementation plan with a detailed description of the activities planned for the various phases of the exercise.

The implementation plan should list all the major milestones such as events, deliverables and decision points. It might also include a more detailed list of the tasks associated with each milestone. The plan needs to indicate financing requirements so costs can be estimated.

For this purpose the plan needs to be as detailed as possible, highlighting the number of players involved, the scheduled events, expected results, and the dissemination and promotion activities. The plan should also describe how final results will be disseminated and enhanced (emphasising the points of interest to each category of sponsor).

The aim should be to arrive at a fully developed specification, about which reasonable consensus should be obtained among the key actors of the exercise such as the project team, coordinator, sponsor and steering committee, as well as in some cases key stakeholder representatives.

The implementation plan will later be used to monitor implementation.

When planning the implementation of the Foresight exercise it is crucial to build sufficient flexibility into the activity programme to take account of possible contingencies during the exercise. Keep the process modular so that different activities can be added or removed in response to the changing context, feedback from sponsors, participants or stakeholders, or changes in the availability of resources.

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A Foresight exercise needs to be designed as an iterative process, which by definition is difficult to predict. In the opinion of many experts the number of "loops" is a relevant quality indicator for the exercise. This implies that they must often proceed by redefining the expected outcome, or even the interim objectives. This organisational flexibility will be beneficial for the exercise, provided it does not entail the loss of reference points in the process. In this sense, the steering committee should act as a safeguard, by defining an "acceptable" amount of room for manoeuvre.

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