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FEMA Strategic Foresight 2050

FEMA launched the Strategic Foresight 2050 initiative to better prepare the agency and the emergency management community for a future of unprecedented change and uncertainty.

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Review the Strategic Foresight 2050 toolkit for information and guidance on leveraging the tools, products and materials used at FEMA for this initiative.

Purpose

FEMA launched the Strategic Foresight 2050 initiative to better understand and anticipate future possibilities. The initiative is intended to help the agency and its partners navigate complexity, mitigate risks and seize opportunities. Strategic foresight involves analyzing trends and developing multiple scenarios of how the future could unfold to inform strategy, policy and resourcing. FEMA will conclude its Strategic Foresight 2050 initiative with a public report in fall 2024 that will inform the agency’s 2026-2030 Strategic Plan.

Strategic Foresight at FEMA

Foresight methodologies often vary depending on the mission and operating environment of a given organization. FEMA organized Strategic Foresight 2050 around five distinct phases.

  1. Framing sets the scope and boundaries of the strategic foresight initiative by defining its purpose, objectives and priorities – laying the foundation for subsequent steps.
  2. Scanning identifies external change signals through environmental scans to understand current trends, emerging issues and potential drivers of change in the organization's operating landscape.
  3. Forecasting develops future scenarios to stimulate creative thinking rather than serve as predictive tools. In this phase, FEMA developed four plausible futures set in the year 2050 by scanning for drivers of change across societal, technological, economic, environmental and political dimensions, while leveraging climate and socioeconomic trajectories adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  4. Workshopping is a collaborative phase where stakeholders explore and discuss projected scenarios, using highly interactive activities. It leverages diverse perspectives, insights and expertise to generate robust data and ensure rigor in the strategic foresight process.
  5. Reporting documents and communicates the outcomes of the strategic foresight initiative. This includes synthesizing insights gained from previous phases, outlining key findings, recommending strategies and identifying implications for decision-making within the organization.

Information and scenarios on this page do not represent a FEMA or U.S. government forecast of the future.