Scanning Retrospective, No. 35

‘From the pages of prospect’ – No. 10

[Originally published] Issue 9, September 2002
Special Issue – Environmental Scanning

  • Environmental scanning
  • Environmental scanning in four worlds
  • Reframing environmental scanning
  • Foresight Snippets, No. 24


Welcome to the September 2002 issue of prospect, a special issue dedicated, as you can see, to the art and practice of environmental scanning (ES) — a technique for gathering strategic information which is one type of input into foresight processes (see the ‘primer’ on foresight in prospect No. 6, December 2001).

In this larger-than-usual issue, I have chosen three articles dealing with ES. These articles form a logical sequence of changing views about what ES is conventionally considered to be, how it ought to be carried out, and how it is being implemented here at Swinburne. This issue of prospect has been put together to form a permanent resource, describing the rationale and conceptual basis for the ES framework which FPR is ramping up into a continuous, active, University-level environmental scanning system here at
Swinburne. [This issue was later edited and became a monograph in the Australian Foresight Institute’s 10-volume series.]

As I mentioned in issue 7 back in March, the editorial content of prospect was to undergo several changes this year. From issue 10, prospect will become a dedicated environmental scanning newsletter, no longer featuring full journal articles, but rather reporting on particularly interesting scanning ‘hits’ which are recorded in the FPR’s Strategic Scanning Database (SSD). The SSD will be found on the FPR’s web site, and will be put up over the next few months to be ready for use in 2003.

The Foresight Snippets appear, as is usual now, on the back page, with active web links in the PDF document.

As ever, I hope you find these articles, and the Snippets, interesting and thought-provoking.

Environmental scanning

The first article shows a fairly standard account of how and why ES is done, written from the perspective of someone who has worked for a long time in the tertiary sector in the USA. The author outlines the basics of ES, defines some terminology, discusses some techniques and suggests ways to go about setting up a scanning system in a university or college.

Morrison, James L. 1992. ‘Environmental Scanning’. In A Primer for New Institutional Researchers, edited by M. A. Whitely, J. D. Porter, and R. H. Fenske, 86–99. Tallahassee, Florida, USA: The Association for Institutional Research. This is an edited version of the version which appears online at the Horizon web site: http://horizon.unc.edu/courses/papers/enviroscan/default.asp

“All material within the HORIZON site, unless otherwise noted, may be distributed freely for educational purposes. If you do redistribute any of this material, it must retain this copyright notice and you must use appropriate citation including the URL.”

Environmental scanning in four worlds

The second article critiques standard approaches to ES, offering instead a ‘new framework’ for doing ES which takes account of a much broader view of the world and of setting up scanning frames to carry out ES.

Copyright © Richard A. Slaughter, 1999. All rights reserved. Reprinted with  permission of the author. A version of this article appeared as:
Slaughter, Richard A. 1999. ‘A New Framework for Environmental  Scanning’. Foresight 1(5):441–51. doi:10.1108/14636689910802331.

Reframing environmental scanning

The third article extends the framework introduced in the second in new ways, to provide a way of understanding how people see the world, and therefore of how our scanning activities are coloured by the perceptual filters we possess.

Copyright © Joseph Voros 2001. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of the author. A version of this article appeared as:
Voros, Joseph. 2001. ‘Reframing Environmental Scanning: An Integral Approach’. Foresight 3(6):533–52. doi:10.1108/14636680110697200

Foresight Snippets, No. 24

[Published in Retrospective No. 24]


prospect is a quarterly publication of the department of Foresight, Planning & Review, Swinburne University of Technology.

Futura tenaciter in prospectu tenemus

This publication is intended to serve the broader Swinburne community, by highlighting areas of interest and concern to Swinburne stakeholders, by helping us take a long-term foresight view, and to expand our perceptions of our strategic options as we move forward together into our common future.

This collection is © 2002 FPR and Swinburne University of Technology. Copyright for the individual articles resides with the original authors and/or the original sources as listed. All articles have been used either with express permission or, where express permission is not required, following stipulated re-use guidelines.


NOTE: In all the posts in this series, the original source URLs are left exactly as they were when published 20-odd years ago. This means they will almost certainly be dead links (or good ol’ 404 errors). I do not have the patience or inclination to follow-up or find any archived or re-located versions of those web pages (because, well, life is too short). But, if it really bugs you, I invite you to see if you can find archived or relocated versions of those dead-link pages. And if you do, let me know, and I’ll update these posts with due credit to your detective work.

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