Strategic Lobsters

Yesterday I was in London, for an invited workshop on horizon scanning for strategic futures planning, courtesy of the DTI’s Office for Science and Innovation. Horizon scanning is a process of trying to anticipate the future through, to quote the Chief Scientific Advisors Committee, “the systematic examination of potential threats, opportunities and likely developments including but not restricted to those at the margins of current thinking and planning.”

This kind of technique is becoming more widely used in government circles. There has been a particular interest in it from those departments with an interest in science, especially after the BSE farming crisis and the perceived mishandling of the GM foods debate. Indeed, chatting to delegates over coffee, who were mainly from various government departments, it became clear that civil servants are being increasingly asked to move away from their traditional job of purely drafting policy. They are being asked to work in ‘delivery mode’ and act not only to manage projects, handle finances and deal with risk analysis, but also to have input to strategic decisions on future directions for government.

The event was held at a superb venue, the Founders Hall, home of the Worshipful Company of Founders, one of the thirty or so Companies of the old London City, dating from the 1500s. I was interested to see that hung above the porcelain in the toilets were framed examples of dinner menus from meetings of the Founders in the 1930s. These listed delights such as Lobster casserole au Chablis, Passion Fruit Sorbet and Grouse Pudding. I was therefore pretty upbeat about the prospect of lunch. Sadly, the nice, but unadventurous ricotta and spinach lasagne that was offered to vegetarians did not quite match my expectations. Although they did serve coffee with liquorice allsorts, something I’ve not come across before.

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3 Responses to “Strategic Lobsters”

  1. Raza Rizvi Says:

    “they did serve coffee with liquorice allsorts, something I’ve not come across before” – clearly you are a Northerner sir 🙂

  2. pdanderson Says:

    Well, I am based in Nottingham, which is North to a lot of people as it is located after Newport Pagnell services. Is consumption of liquorice with beverages a Southern thing then?

  3. Raza Rizvi Says:

    Apparently so, but since I am from Newcastle I never partake of such nonsense!

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