Critical Success factors for sustainable foresight units – Canadian experiences

The presentation provides results of a study conducted in Canada that asked senior foresight practitioners (a field closely related to competitive intelligence) to help develop and then assess the factors that would lead to sustained actionable foresight. The experts have been involved in Federal government foresight for over 20 years (each) and had been part of units that had been shut down, restructured, expanded and even units that were moved to other parts of the organization. Based on the experts, knowledge of these developments, three sets of lists were developed:


  • A list of factors that they felt explained why foresight had done well in certain departments/units
  • A list of factors that they felt explained why in other departments/units foresight did not do well, in a sense explaining why some units were shut down, budget’s reduced or unchanged.
  • A list of factors that based on their collective experiences could be seen as critical success factors. Those are factors that lead to foresight taking hold, growing and succeeding


These lists were developed by the panel of experts and then evaluated by a broader group of foresight practitioners and as part of the conference presentation, those participating will be given an opportunity to add to these lists and participate in the evaluation process.

Key topics

  • An understanding of the requirements to build a successful foresight unit within an organization
  • A list of pitfalls, things to avoid when setting up and running this kind of unit
  • Development of an appreciation for foresight and an understanding of its fit with competitive intelligence

Speaker profile

Dr. Jonathan Calof is a professor of International Business and Strategy at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. Jonathan combines research and consulting in competitive intelligence, technical foresight and business analytics to help organizations develop key insights on their competitive environment.


Jonathan has given over 1000 speeches and seminars around the world on intelligence, foresight and analytics and has helped several companies and government agencies around the world enhance their capabilities on these areas. Jonathan has been given several industry awards including Frost and Sullivan’s life time achievement award in competitive intelligence; Fellow award from the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals; and SCIP’s distinguished member award and also several honorary academic awards and appointments including: Honorary Professor at Yunnan Normal University in China; Leading Research Fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia and Extraordinary Professor at North-West University in South Africa