Skills Training

Judgement under uncertainty - Decision support through foresight analysis

Decision-making in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world can quickly become a costly and risky endeavour. Especially in the realm of foreign and security policy. To lower risks in decision-making, to widen decision makers’ perspectives and to provide them with policy options, Foresight Analysis and Scenario Planning are powerful analytic methods in an analyst’s quiver.

Foresight Analysis and Scenario Planning help analysts and political advisors to undertake estimative analysis, which involves thinking systematically about the various ways the future is likely to unfold and what is most likely to determine the eventual outcomes.

The objective is not to predict the future, but to generate a solid set of scenarios that can bound the range of plausible alternative futures. Foresight Analysis is most useful when a situation is complex and the outcomes too uncertain to trust a single prediction. It has proven highly effective in helping analysts, decision makers, and policymakers contemplate multiple futures, challenge their assumptions, and anticipate surprise developments by identifying “unknown unknowns” – i.e. factors, forces, or players that one did not realise were important or influential before commencing the exercise.

Key learning objectives of the course include:

  • The definition of foresight and how imaginative – but structured – thinking can help analysts and political consultants consider a future they have not experienced and avoid strategic surprise.
  • A taxonomy of foresight analytic techniques.
  • The cognitive principles underlying five distinct structured analytic techniques: Key Assumption Check, Structured Brainstorming, Multiple Scenarios Generation, Indicators / Indicators Validation, and the Opportunities Incubator™.
  • The circumstances or situations when each of the above tools can be appropriately used, along with proper interpretation of the tools’ results.

This course can also be completed as part of the Certificate programmes.

Target group

Professionals from all sectors (public, private, and from NGOs)


  • Higher education degree
  • At least two years of relevant professional experience (average is ten years)
  • Good knowledge of English


  • 2 days at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin
  • No preparation or follow-up assignment is required

Seminar times

  • Day 1:  9:00 - 18:00
  • Day 2:  9:00 - 18:00

Seminar fee

€ 1,690

Seminar fees are exempted from tax according to Value Added Tax Act (UStG) §4 Nr. 21a. In Germany and many other countries, tuition fees for continuing education programmes are also fully tax-deductible as professional training expenses.

Seminar fee includes: attendance, online access to course documents, materials during the seminar, beverages in the Hertie School cafeteria (open on weekdays), certificate of attendance. 

Terms and Conditions


Registration is possible throughout the year, on a first-come, first-serve basis via our online application module. Admission is subject to availability.

Seminar director