Creating Insight: An Introduction to Futures Analysis

National Security College | Professional course
Creating Insight: An Introduction to Future Analysis


Our world is rapidly changing and disruption has become the new norm. Thinking proactively about the future security landscape, and taking a systematic approach to understanding future possibilities and risks, is a vital skillset for contemporary security professionals.

Course date: 
6–7 March 2018
18–19 September 2018
#132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU

A fee of $2,250 (GST ex) applies to this course for Commonwealth participating agencies and NSC Partners. The open rate is $2,700 (GST ex).

Course overview

This course will introduce you to the basics of futures analysis: a set of methods for projecting long-term challenges and opportunities. These methods help analysts and policymakers to identify the drivers of change and provide a framework for drawing meaning and structure from future uncertainty. Futures analysis will enable you to gain a better understanding of plausible operating and policy environments, and helps you to clarify possible responses.

Scope and content

The course covers a full range of futures analysis approaches, from understanding existing evidence for how the future will develop, through interpreting the implications of that evidence for our security environment, to translating that into policy and planning action today. You will examine a range of analysis techniques covering trends, scenarios, risk frameworks, and complex systems. You will also learn techniques for efficiently eliciting important and interesting information from experts, both groups and individuals.

The focus will be on teaching you the skills you need to do your own analysis, rather than providing you with clear views on what the future will be like. The theory will be accompanied by practical exercises to learn various techniques and see how various theoretical frameworks work in practice. All of the techniques are scalable from a short, personal exercise to a whole of government multi-year process. This course will equip you with ideas on how to maximise the impact of your work by providing decision- makers with insight into tomorrow’s issues.

Who should attend / target audience

The course is most immediately relevant to policy officers and analysts whose current work focuses on future trends, scenarios and policy options. However, anyone within the national security community with an interest in futures analysis would benefit.

Course details

• Two day non-residential, fully-catered program.
• An ANU parking permit will be supplied.
• Course Timings 8:30am - 5:00pm

Places on this course are limited. To secure your place, or to obtain further information, please contact us at

Course convenor

Dr Ryan Young

Dr Ryan Young is the Senior Advisor, Policy Engagement and Futures Hub.

Prior to the NSC he spent almost 5 years in strategic policy in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) where he worked across all areas of public policy, including cyber security, counter terrorism policy, infrastructure, innovation, school funding and early childhood education. He has a particular focus on new approaches to making effective policy decisions and integrating long-term insight and research into policy making.

He has worked across multiple Departments in the Australian Public Service and has held Visiting Fellow and/or teaching positions at the University of Leipzig, Germany, the Australian National University and the University of Canberra. Ryan has a PhD in philosophy and logic from the Australian National University

Course presenter(s)

Mr Rob Hanson

Rob Hanson is a risk management professional who specialises in the policy implications of emerging technologies in his role as a senior researcher at CSIRO’s Data61. Rob is a senior honorary fellow at the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute, where he is establishing their research agenda. The 3A Institute’s mission is to create a new applied science that focuses on managing the impact to humanity from the design and use of artificial intelligence, data and technology. Rob has advanced degrees covering the disciplines of public policy, technology management, and strategic foresight.

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