Capacities for Change, GFAR blog

GFAR Webinar: Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change


GFAR is pleased to invite you to the webinar:

Beyond decision making:
Foresight as a process for improving attitudes towards change

Date: 27 June 2017

Time: 14:00 Rome time

Duration: 2 hours max

Registration open

As part of its series of webinars, GFAR Secretariat is bringing together foresight practitioners and others interested in foresight for agriculture and rural development. They will engage on the role of foresight in proactive and participatory decision making, and in improving attitudes towards change in order to realize effective agriculture and rural development programmes.

In designing and implementing effective agriculture and rural development programmes in farming communities, foresight analysis is required to understand how current and emerging trends and drivers are shaping present realities; and the plausible futures that can be observed from their continuous interactions, or the discontinuities in these interactions which may arise as a result of one or more disruptions to a system.

At one level, foresight can enable stakeholders in a system to anticipate expected changes in the future (based on current trends) and prepare for the most effective ways to manage these changes. This is pre-active. In effect, it allows a delayed decision making process that is activated and adapted in response to future changes.

A more important use of the foresight process is to explore plausible future changes and to make decisions (today) that will influence the trajectories of change. In essence, it is the use of the plausible knowledge of the future to change the present (trends) in order to influence the future. It is a proactive method that is not just empowering for stakeholders but can also improve their attitude towards change.

By becoming future-smart, farming communities and agriculture stakeholders realise that change is not just what happens to them, but a process that is well influenced by their own conscious decisions. This change in mind-set can transform them from being reactive bystanders to becoming pro-active agents and influencers of the kind of change they would like to see.

To engage more with how foresight as a process can do more to empower farming communities and stakeholders, register for the GFAR webinar – “Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change”. Presenters with field experience in foresight analysis, and in engaging with farmers’ groups and other decision makers, will talk about their experience in facilitating participatory foresight activities. They will also present on foresight approaches that engender proactive decision making, as well as improve stakeholders’ attitude to change and empower them to become active agents of change.


Moderator: Peter Casier


Robin Bourgeois is an agricultural economist and foresight practitioner from the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD). He is currently a senior scientist at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn), University of Pretoria, South Africa. His current research focuses on anticipatory governance, rural development and empowerment. Before that, he worked at the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) strengthening the role of foresight and providing open and multi-stakeholder spaces for dialogue and action on the future challenges for agricultural research for better development impact. Robin has a long practice of international organisations and experience of field research in numerous countries. His research domains include foresight, institutional change, inequality and poverty in rural development, collective decision-making in the elaboration of public policies.

Tanya HichertTanja Hichert is a leading South African futures and foresight practitioner who specialises in scenario planning, risk scenarios, long-term strategy and horizon scanning. She facilitates strategic conversations to assist clients all over the world in making sense of uncertainty, deal with volatility and complexity, and clarify the unfolding future. Tanja has a MBA specializing in Strategy and Forecasting, and an M.Phil in Futures Studies (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University. She teaches modules on Scenario Planning and Global Challenges to M.Phil (Futures Studies) students and worked for 8 years as a part-time Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Futures Research ( ) at Stellenbosch University. More recently she spends time working in conjunction with the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition also at Stellenbosch University, and teaches Systems Thinking to MBA students at the University of the Free State.

Tanja also serves as director of the South African Node of the global futures think tank, the Millennium Project, and is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists. Tanja is the leader of Hichert Associates and co-Founder of Foresight for Development platform.

KatindiKatindi Sivi-Njonjo is the founder and lead consultant at LongView Consult, a socio-economic research, policy analysis, foresight strategy and training firm that works with individuals, companies and governments to understand possible futures that may occur in order to strategically help prepare for an uncertain and rapidly changing world. Prior to that, she served as the Programme Director in an international organization that facilitates development dialogue, and before that, she was head of Futures in a national Think-tank in Kenya. Ms. Katindi is a Doctoral candidate at Regent University studying Strategic Leadership (Strategic Foresight). She also has training in, among other areas, Scenarios Planning from Oxford University (Said Business School). Part of her foresight work has included conducting scenarios exercises on: the future of women in Africa; the future of social movements in Kenya; the future of the extractive sector in Kenya; the future of energy in Kenya; the future of livelihoods in Kenya; the future of CSO’s in Kenya; the future of youth in Kenya.

Presentations and Discussion:

Presenters will address the following questions:

  • How can foresight help to improve agriculture stakeholders’ and farming communities’ attitude to change? How do you see this happening? Can you give an example of instances where this has happened, in your experience?
  • From experience, what are the most effective foresight methods to employ when working with agricultural stakeholders and farming communities? Why?
  • How can agriculture and rural development stakeholders transition from pre-active planners based on forecasts to pro-active seekers and agents of change through foresight? What are the incentives the can facilitate this transition and how can foresight practitioners convey these incentives to stakeholders?
  • What skills and resources are required to enable agricultural and rural development stakeholders, and farming communities, to engage in foresight analysis and be positioned to use foresight outputs to catalyse change? How can these skills/resources be facilitated or improved on?
  • What role can participatory foresight play in ensuring an inclusive decision making space for rural communities and improving their ability to participate in the ways their futures are determined? What role can development organisations play in facilitating this?

After each presentation the moderator will invite participants to ask questions or share related experiences.

Register now!!!

You can register for this webinar by sending a simple email to Peter Casier – peter.casier(at)

Please mention the title of the webinar you want to participate in, your name, affiliation (organisation/institute) and function.

We will send you a confirmation email. You will get a reminder with the technical details to join the webinar, one day before.

Register fast! Our webinars are limited to 100 participants and the available “seats” are often taken in a matter of days. We encourage participants to actively engage in our webinars with feedback, questions, and sharing of their own experiences.


GFAR and Foresight

Empowering farmers groups and agricultural innovation stakeholders with the foresight capacity to improve their collective understanding of potential future challenges, and their capacity to influence the kind of change they would like see, is one of the main focus of GFAR’s works.

Following the GCARD2 foresight sessions, where GFAR’s Steering Committee members and partners committed to forward thinking as a key area of work, GFAR has invested in facilitating foresight actions such as the Grassroots Foresight Initiative, a series of local level foresight activities that empower farmers and rural communities to envision their own futures, identify trends, and to take actions accordingly.

In addition, the Global Foresight Hub, facilitated by GFAR, works to bring together foresight practitioners from various agricultural research and development organisations involved in forward thinking. The Hub is a global network that links all those concerned about the future of agriculture and its role in development. It strives to break down the institutional “walls” or silos that prevent stakeholders from working together to achieve common goals.

Besides, to actualize the commitment towards empowering farmers to be future-smart, GFAR is also facilitating the “Alliance for the re-appropriation of rural futures for local people”. This is a global alliance led by regional agricultural fora, farmers associations, and other stakeholders committed to implementing initiatives to change the present in order to shape the directions of agriculture and farming communities towards a desired future.

About the GFAR webinars

Our webinars are open to Partners in GFAR as well as other nonprofit organisations or individuals working in the area of agriculture, ecosystems and sustainable development. They are often attended by scientists, students, communications staff as well as agricultural practitioners.

We do not ask for a participation fee, but we ask that as much as possible, the webinars present the work of Partners in GFAR and show how your organizations are working together towards shared GFAR goals. If your organisation is not a GFAR partner yet, join now!

The webinars are moderated via BlueJeans, an online tool running within any internet browser. It only requires participants to have a good and reliable Internet connection and a computer running any browser.

Topics of our past GFAR webinars include:

Farmers’ Rights: Achieving Complementarity Between the Informal and Formal Seed Systems
Agents of Change in Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation: The Value of Facilitators
Building a bridge between scientists and communicators
Participatory Video
Basic Search Engine Optimization
The Art of Website Revamps
The Crystal Ball: Predicting the future of online media

Photo credits: 1-CIMMYT / Peter Lowe; 2-Bunmi Ajilore

7 thoughts on “GFAR Webinar: Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change”

  1. Dear Peter: I will most certainly tune in to this very interesting Webinar. In 2011 I was the Knowledge Advisor for a Meeting of the Advisory Council on Science and Technology for ACP Agricultural & Rural Development (CTA/ACP) in Dominica, West Indies. This meeting address the issue of Foresight for sustainable food systems. Subsequently, my colleague and I presented a paper at the Rethinking Knowledge Management: Foresight in the 21st Century at the 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management in South Africa. I would be than interested to hear perspectives on this subject.
    I reside in Trinidad and Tobago and will follow the discussion

    1. Hi Wendy, please make sure you are registered to this webinar, by sending me an email via peter.casier(at)
      Really looking forward to you sharing your experiences during the webinar itself!


  2. Such a milieu for interaction on agriculture is timely for solutions to global population growing toward 9billion.

    1. Hi Gana, Thanks for your interest. You will need to send an email to Peter.Casier(at) to register, as detailed in this blogpost.

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