Brief is a simple and fast method for abstracting the key information about future projections on a particular issue from a series of reports and articles etc. Its purpose is to convince others of its importance and offer solutions to the challenges presented.

Uses of the method

  • Assessing the projections veracity and relevance 
  • Discovering new ideas, opportunities and risks
  • Outlining strategic and policy issues in a formal manner
  • Identifying implications and next steps
  • Allows discussion among decision-makers on resolutions and next steps


  • Quick, high-level assessments and understanding
  • Low-cost
  • Short, succinct, evidence-based


  • Only a first step in understanding an issue

Steps to complete

  • Complete the template ensuring that you succinctly identify the issue or challenge and convince the reader of its importance. Address their needs specifically rather than your own. Be brief and to the point
  • Add Insights and Issues to support your brief and ensure your evidence supports your Unique Insights and Conclusions
  • Invite decision-makers to read the brief and make their own comments.
  • Modify the brief as necessary and goal towards achieving unanimity on how this issue should be resolved
  • Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture critical variables i.e. uncertainties, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization.
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue.

'Brief' can  be shared with others or kept private using the 'Visible to' fields and through the 'tag', 'report', 'share'', 'link and 'comment' functionality. Use 'tag' and/or 'report' to aggregate your analyzes, 'share' with others via email, Facebook and Twitter etc. or add a 'comment' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Further reference


Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.

Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.

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