Start shaping your future today

Published: 15 March 2023
red haired woman with glasses speaking to group with SV Lab Futures forum text

Whether you consider yourself a ‘planner’ or a more spontaneous person, many things in our life involve serious long-term thinking. Landmarks like learning a new skill, planning a holiday adventure, or saving for a home are unlikely to happen overnight. Despite this, we can find our brains awash with the here and now, leaving us little time to consider the future we want for ourselves in a few years’ time.

Thinking about our long-term future is also something organisations and governments must do to ensure a preferred and sustainable future. That’s why Sustainability Victoria is keen to foster ‘futures’ thinkers, to encourage and grow foresight across the Victorian public service and wider community.

What is foresight?

Foresight is essentially long-term thinking, allowing us to identify both opportunities and challenges and be better prepared for them if they eventuate. Long-term challenges require long-term thinking, and many government decisions need to consider the future decades in advance to inform investment, planning, and behaviour change.

“Foresight is the practice of thinking systematically about things that might happen, so we can be better prepared for them if they eventuate.”
Claire Havens, SV Lab.

Long-term strategic thinking is one of our most important tools on the road to a circular, climate-resilient future.

Futures Forum: Embedding long-term thinking across government

To advance the practice of long-term thinking across the Victorian Government, Sustainability Victoria recently hosted a Futures Forum, the first in-person meeting of the newly formed Future and Foresight Network.

More than 75 curious minds from 22 government agencies and authorities descended on SV Hub for the event, eager to expand their connections and capability in foresight.

The wide range of attendees demonstrates the broad appeal of long-term strategic thinking across the Victorian public service.

“We make decisions today that start shaping the future.”
Andrew Blades, Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions.

Attendees heard from presenters representing Melbourne Water, the EPA and more, demonstrating how they are using long-term thinking to help their organisations better plan for a preferred future. Encouraging decision-makers to use different parts of their brains was seen as a powerful way to achieve this.

Collaborating for a sustainable future

Futures Forum attendees all agreed that they wanted to work together to help shape Victoria’s future, rather than waiting for the future to shape us.

The event’s Futures Bazaar activity offered valuable opportunities for collaboration across teams with a shared interest in sustainable futures.

Providing many light bulb moments, this interactive and creative workshop tested attendees’ imaginations, encouraging them to consider future worlds and bring them to life using objects from the ‘bazaar’.

Sustainability Victoria will continue to support collaboration through events like the Futures Forum, ensuring that government agencies are working together and preparing for a preferable and sustainable future for all Victorians.