Creating Insight: An Introduction to Futures Analysis

National Security College | Professional course
Creating Insight: An Introduction to Futures 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.

#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). 2020 Dates TBC

Course overview

This course introduces 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 enables 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 examine a range of analysis techniques covering trends, scenarios, risk frameworks, and complex systems. You learn techniques for efficiently eliciting important and interesting information from experts, both groups and individuals.

The focus is 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. Theory is 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 equips 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 staff, policy officers and analysts whose working on analysis, future trends, scenarios and policy options. However, anyone 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 9:00am - 5:00pm

Please click here to register or contact us at for further information.

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

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Updated:  17 July 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/Page Contact:  Web administrator