Strategic Planning in the Humanitarian Sector : A Manual to Foresight and Futures-Focused Thinking book cover
1st Edition

Strategic Planning in the Humanitarian Sector
A Manual to Foresight and Futures-Focused Thinking

ISBN 9780367556969
Published October 28, 2021 by Routledge
244 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides humanitarian practitioners and policy makers with a manual for how to apply foresight and strategy in their work. 

Drawing on extensive research, the book demonstrates in practical terms how embedding futures-focused thinking into practice can help humanitarian actors to enhance their impact and fit for the future. The book provides readers with a step-by-step guide to an innovative combination of tools and methods tested and refined over the course of several years. However, it also goes beyond this, by grounding the approach within the broader ambition of making humanitarian action more effective. Overall, the analytical and strategic processes outlined in this book will accompany a decision maker through every stage of creating a robust, agile and impactful long-term strategy.  

This accessible guide will be an essential point of reference for practitioners and decision makers in the humanitarian ecosystem, as well as students studying humanitarian affairs, global development, conflict studies and international relations.

Table of Contents

1. Strategic foresight for transformation 2. Embracing uncertainty with foresight 3. Developing a strategy for effective change 4. A  toolkit for humanitarian action

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Eilidh Kennedy is Co-Founder and Director of the Inter-Agency Research and Analysis Network (IARAN). She has more than ten years’ experience working with humanitarian actors providing trainings, research, foresight analysis and supporting strategic development.

Michel Maietta is Co-Founder and Director of the Inter-Agency Research and Analysis Network (IARAN). He has two decades of experience in high-profile, strategic leadership, and has developed and turned around multiple start-ups, programmes and operations in the humanitarian and development sector.


"As a Global South leader committed to community-led structural change, I highly recommend this book to my colleagues as well as to anyone seeking a comprehensive understanding of the humanitarian sector. The historical background, the contextual framework and the strategic planning tools that it provides are invaluable to practitioners interested in making a meaningful and systemic impact."

Marie-Rose Romain Murphy, Co-Founder of ESPWA and The Haiti Community Foundation; and President of RMC-Romain Murphy Consulting, USA

"The authors artfully combine foresight theory and practical tools for designing and implementing effective aid programmes. Fundamental reading for both aid theorists and practitioners interested in innovation and transformative change, and an essential playbook for making humanitarian aid both immediately impactful and future-ready."

Christina Bennett, CEO Start Network, UK

"I welcome this new book by Michel Maietta and Eilidh Kennedy. It is truly easy to understand and follow, and more importantly, use. They give a gift of relevance and accessibility. Clearly, a text and process all can benefit from, that can help create a transformed tomorrow."

Sohail Inayatullah, Unesco Chair in Futures Studies, IIUM, Malaysia; and Professor, Tamkang University, Taiwan

"The humanitarian ecosystem faces a period of real disruption. To help humanitarian actors succeed and seize the opportunity for transformation, the authors offer a pioneering and exciting toolbox mixing structural analysis, scenarios and strategic planning. For the humanitarian sector, this book will become a key reference for both practitioners and researchers."

Philippe Ryfman, Honorary Professor, Pantheon-Sorbonne University, France; and researcher and lawyer specialising on the humanitarian sector and NGOs

"The flexibility of the approaches outlined in this book ensure its relevance for all actors involved in development work, particularly LGBTI – often left behind. The guidance for how to implement strategic foresight projects virtually makes it all the more pertinent in a post-Covid19 world."

Vincent Kyabayinze, Director, East Africa Visual Artists (EAVA Artists); and LGBTI activist, Uganda

"Thoughtful, insightful and practical book; essential reading for aid and development professionals in the ever-changing world."

Anika Krstic, Country Director, Plan International, Sudan

"The manual you have in your hands gives you the keys to foundational strategic foresight approaches and methods adapted for humanitarian actors. Using these approaches you can create transformative narratives and build resilient strategies with communities. Eilidh and Michel have tested, piloted and implemented these tools in multiple settings, combining high professional standards with accessibility and commitment."

François Bourse, Director of studies, Futuribles, France

"The use of foresight methodology for strategic planning involving our local partners was instrumental for us as an ecosystem of actors to be impactful in a very dynamic operational context! I am really happy to see the toolkit is coming to the public domain for wider use and adoption in the humanitarian sector."

Nipin Gangadharan, Country Director, Action Against Hunger Bangladesh