SUMS Consulting has launched its survey on Horizon Scanning in HE to understand sector views on the process of horizon scanning - what's done and when, what works well and what doesn't?

VUCA – that wonderful acronym standing for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.  We could all give a good argument for how this captures conditions in the UK HE sector at the moment: Brexit, Pensions, OfS, Augar, the spending review, potential general elections, new competitors, international demand… we could go on.  In the face of all this uncertainty and amid demands from executive and governance structures for greater sustainability, the way that universities make decisions on strategy, size and shape, and long-term investment is under increasing scrutiny.  That’s why SUMS Consulting is undertaking a collaborative study on horizon scanning and has launched a survey to understand sector views on the process of horizon scanning – what’s done and when, what works well and what doesn’t (rather than what was found).

Share Your Views
Representatives from universities across the UK can complete the Horizon Scanning Survey here.

The survey should take no more than 30 minutes and closes on 24th May 2019.  If you need some help formulating your responses before jumping right into the survey, you can download a PDF version of the survey questions: SUMS Consulting Horizon Scanning Survey Questions.

Each institution can complete the survey from a number of different perspectives, representing the wide range of horizon scanning activities across organisations: corporate, academic, future student, future workforce, future campus, internationalisation, research and finance.

We would like a corporate return from as many different universities as possible, then any number of different perspectives from those using horizon scanning to inform long-term decision making.

All those who take part in the survey will receive a full briefing paper, including examples of good practice case studies from both within and outside the sector, as well as an institution level summary of findings.  Those who participate in the survey will also have access to a maturity model which organisations can use to understand their own maturity and how they can improve their horizon scanning processes.

This work is part of a two-phase study SUMS Consulting is undertaking on behalf of members and the wider sector.  The second phase will consist of in-depth interviews on specific aspects of the activity with organisations that show good practice from both inside and outside the HE sector.

If you have any questions, please contact SUMS Principal Consultant Claire Taylor, MBE, at




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