Friday, 12 February 2010

The Regional Policy Collaboration Pilot – Workshop 1

On the 4th February, representatives of the Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh devolved administrations and Fujitsu gathered at Victoria Quay – a Scottish Government Building in Edinburgh – to work on this project.

By the end of a full day, we had started to address some of the critical issues in establishing an effective partnership and started to co-create a futures model using Fujitsu’s FutureScape application.


Or agenda was very full – a recognition that we needed to undertake a number of critical activities and maximise the time we had together. We sought to establish the partnership itself as well as work through some futures content. We:
  • Shared our interest in participating in the Regional Policy Collaboration Pilot.
  • Expressed our expectations about the work and our assumptions.
  • Agreed the core question we will seek to answer through this work.
  • Started the discussion on what we are seeking to achieve through this work.
  • Started to consider the risks and opportunities in participating in this work.
  • Reviewed FutureScape’s capabilities.
  • Started to co-create a FutureScape model.
Interest in participating

As part of our connecting for the day, we sought to consider and share our interest in participating in this work. The good news is that the combination of an operational interest in the issue of aging, a desire to understand more about futures work and collaboration and how they can be deployed in the operational environment were strongly featured in the feedback.

Also of interest was the experience of taking part in a multi-stakeholder partnership. This work is bringing together three public sector organisations from the devolved administrations across the UK and a private sector organisation.

Assumptions and Expectations

Establishing our assumptions about the work and our partners is critical to developing an open relationship between partners. Equally important is the sharing of what we expect to happen as we work together; what we expect to be the outcome of the work and what some of the challenges might be along the way.

We identified the following themes:
  • Content and Questions – Looking for shared understanding about the questions we ask, the definitions we work with and the content we have.
  • The External Context – Being aware of the external environmental context for our work; mainly things we can’t change!
  • The Organisational Context – Paying attention to what is actually going on in the different organisations and how that plays into our work.
  • Outcomes – How we deliver value to our stakeholders, and what that value looks like.
  • The Partnering Process – The challenges and opportunities of working collaboratively.
  • Resources – The pressures that will be felt by the partners in contributing to this work.
The big question

One of the challenges with this work – both futures work and collaboration – is to manage the scope of the work. One of the things we have sought to do is collectively agree on the question(s) we are posing. To that end, in Edinburgh we agreed that our big questions would be:

What are the possible future social and economic opportunities presented by an ageing population?

What are the challenges that need to be addressed that allow us to capitalise on the opportunities?


Having considered the big question, we looked at the future outcomes we wanted to explore through our modelling using FutureScape. The issues we identified were social, environmental, economic and political in nature.

In co-creating a pilot FutureScape model we considered some potential future events, allocate timelines to them, built in some attributes and characteristics associated with each event and recognised relationships between them.

Next steps

There are three key next steps:
  1. To review the pilot model and ad richness to it – more data and more detail.
  2. Build on the initial work to develop and agree a Partnership Charter that will support governance throughout the project.
  3. To build on our collaboration to date and plan Workshop 2 where we will start to make sense of the information we have collected, assumptions we have made in the context of potential futures.
If you want to know more about this work, see the Introduction and Context post at the start of this blog or contact me by email.