The depth of the horizon: searching, scanning and widening horizons
Purpose ‐ This essay aims to introduce horizon scanning as an approach fundamental to most foresight studies. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The essay combines a general review of the topic with an overview
of a range of horizon-scanning approaches that are in use in the UK health system. Findings ‐ Different approaches ‐ shorter as well as longer-term, searching as well as broad scanning ‐ are appropriate in different circumstances.
In times of systemic change it is necessary to combine approaches of all types. Research limitations/implications ‐ Only a small sample of the huge range of horizon-scanning exercises has been studied, and the essay has not gone far into the question
of how horizon-scanning relates to other elements of the foresight process. Practical implications ‐ The implication is that horizon-scanning should be undertaken on a routine basis, and should be integrated into planning activities from the start.
Social implications ‐ Horizon-scanning is a tool needed in activities such as planning for the workforce, and for health and safety issues. Originality/value ‐ The essay covers a wide range of activities with
real-life illustrations in addition to overall assessment.