This paper aims to present the process and results of a local‐level South African action research project on introducing foresight methods into a local government planning process.
The paper outlines the evolutionary process followed, and documents the practical insights gained and lessons learnt in relation to the concept of pro‐poor foresight.
Positive outcomes in the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) foresight process included a high level of stakeholder engagement and senior management buy‐in, supported by positive evaluations by diverse participants. The learning was subsequently incorporated into long‐term development plans and proposals such as the ten‐year development plan for the region. The experience yielded key lessons about the recruitment of participants, policy alignment, communication in diversity, active participation, facilitation as learning, the influence of technical inputs, and the importance of integration.
Further academic research could build upon this case study to investigate longer‐term impacts of the initiative in KSD, tracking replications and adaptations of the KSD experiment, comparative research between contexts where foresight is used and where it is not in development policy and planning processes, enquiry into how foresight might be formally incorporated in the routine development policy and planning processes of municipalities, and undertaking more theoretical enquiry on the “localising foresight” concept and experience, including the development of guiding criteria and indicators for procedural and outcome success.
The case focuses on learning in a developing world context where foresight is less advanced than in other contexts. The results of the exercise in KSD suggest that it is possible to embed pro‐poor foresight in a large‐scale policy programme to enhance the resilience of communities, supported by appropriate plans and budgets.
The long‐term nature of foresight can create a “safe” platform for an otherwise difficult engagement, as is this case where three levels of government and various segments of civil society are to be beneficially engaged.
This was a unique action research project in South Africa, where foresight has tended to be mainly at a top or central level – that being the level of corporate executives, national government, or national‐level stakeholders.
Karuri‐Sebina, G. and Rosenzweig, L. (2012), "A case study on localising foresight in South Africa: using foresight in the context of local government participatory planning", Foresight, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 26-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636681211210341Download as .RIS
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