DREaM 4 speaker insight: Dr Harry J Woodroof

The fourth LIS DREaM event is just around the corner already and we’re getting ready to welcome the cadre back to Edinburgh Napier’s Craighouse campus for what promises to be a fascinating series of presentations, ranging from horizon scanning and data mining to impact and techniques from psychology.

Once again we will be interviewing our expert speakers to get an insight into their sessions ahead of the workshop. The first of these interviews is with Dr Harry J Woodroof from the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, who previews his session on horizon scanning for us now…

What will you be discussing with the workshop participants in your presentation?

I will explain the reasons that organisations – such as Government – need to carry out horizon scanning. The principal one is to inform today’s decision-makers about both the risks and the opportunities of the future, and their implications. I shall describe what horizon scanning is, and why, compared to some other techniques, it can be particularly helpful to policy-makers and others who need to understand and manage the uncertainties that characterise the future. I shall compare two of the horizon scanning processes in use within UK Government: those in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and in the Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre within the Government Office for Science.

How have you used this in your own research work?

I will briefly describe two examples of how horizon scanning work that I was involved in has been used in UK Government: the National Security Strategy update of 2009 and the analysis phase of the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2007.

How do you think this topic might be relevant to LIS researchers?

Horizon scanning can be part of the overall “knowledge mix” of a research-focussed organisation.

Where can people will find more information?

Details of the work of the Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre are their website. Its published scan – the Sigma Scan – is at www.sigmascan.org.

You can also follow this link is to a paper published by two of my colleagues which describes some aspects of Dstl’s horizon scanning work.

Dr Harry J Woodroof will be presenting a session introducing horizon scanning at the fourth DREaM workshop at the Edinburgh Napier University on Wednesday 25th April. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

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