UNDP RBAP Horizon Scanning: An Overview

Benjamin Jia Ming Ong
Benjamin Jia Ming Ong • 2 January 2022

➡️ Back to the Strategic Foresight Dashboard 

Applying Strategic Foresight for anticipatory processes & strategic planning

Horizon Scanning Initiative Background

We designed a Horizon Scanning (HS) initiative to help senior leadership better manage potential risks and opportunities and make strategic decisions on new programming areas. We asked our senior leaders a series of questions to understand how they make decisions, in order to build a model of HS unique to UNDP contexts. 

The HS method blends collective intelligence, artificial intelligence, quantitative and qualitative data.

We have generated insights from a Horizon Scan of key trends across Asia-Pacific in partnership with our country offices to inform regional planning.

? COs involved include: Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Sri Lanka; and Pakistan. Read more about our ongoing foresight projects here

Value for COs

  • Informs pipeline programme planning

  • Informs CO Business Plans

  • Supports the design of future-fit CPDs for COs

  • Supports leadership decisions on strategic and policy risks

Horizon Scanning Methodology

The Regional Horizon Scanning Initiative aims to scan for future risks and opportunities, across regional strategic priorities, which could impact on development trajectories in the Asia Pacific region. Moreover, this Initiative aims to kickstart an iterative process in which identified emerging risks and opportunities will be monitored and evaluated in the upcoming months before another regional scan will be repeated to track developments in trends.

Horizon Scanning Phases 1-5


The Initiative rolled out in five phases, from Surveying, Signalling, Sensemaking and Insights to Integration into existing planning and programming in the region. The initiative is grounded in three components across all phases: applied foresight, collective intelligence, and learning-by-doing.

Horizon Scanning 2021

From July to December 2021, the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific’s (RBAP) Strategy, Policy, Partnerships (SPP) Unit piloted a regional Horizon Scanning Initiative with several Country Offices in the Asia Pacific. Spanning from July to December 2021, this initiative built upon RBAP’s regional landscape analysis, to continuously monitor for emerging trends to supply anticipatory intelligence. 

The 2021 Outcome Report can be found here.

Horizon Scanning 2022 (2.0 Initiative) - May - July 2022

The RBAP Strategy, Policy, and Partnerships team, in partnership with the Crisis Bureau Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery team, is delighted to launch the second iteration of the RBAP Regional Horizon Scanning Initiative. All colleagues working in Country Offices in the region and in the Regional Hub are invited to participate in identifying key risks, uncertainties, and trade-offs for the region from 2022-2030 in this ‘Signal Scanning’ exercise, taking place over a three-week period from May into June 2022. This structured and rigorous approach for foresight attempts to understand, analyze, and provide insight on future risks to inform decision-making among RBAP leadership.

Participation in this Initiative provides an exciting opportunity to develop foresight skills through a learning-by-doing approach to strengthen future-fit strategizing in UNDP Regional and Country Offices. You will leave equipped with knowledge of the horizon scanning process and, through the possibility of future participation in the validation and prioritization phases, develop skills and resources to integrate foresight methods and tools into your daily work across UNDP’s portfolios.

Colleagues interested in joining the RBAP 2022 Horizon Scanning Initiative are invited to register their interest here by 13 May.

An informational webinar will be held on Thursday, 12 May to introduce the Initiative's aims and methodology. Register for the webinar here.

The Signal Scanning phase will officially kick-off on Wednesday, 18 May - a webinar invitation providing an overview to the Signal Scanning Process will be shared with those who register their interest via the above link,

Questions? Reach out to boukje.kistemaker@undp.org.

Horizon Scanning Overview

Horizon Scanning Templates

Phase 1: Surveying

Phase 2: Signal Scanning

Phase 3: Sensemaking - Analysis and Roadmapping

Phase 4: Insights

  • Insights from the 2021 RBAP Regional Horizon Scan can be found in the Outcome Report

Phase 5: Integration

  • Integrating insights into the CPD Process (see Playbook Appendix I, coming July 2022)

⭐️ Find out more about our support to CPD design here.⭐️

Read the Horizon Scanning framework below ⬇️

? Back to the Strategic Foresight Network Dashboard. Click to register your interest in the Network.


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