Past Program


Due to ongoing travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Sector Strategy Network has shifted to hold its meetings online in 2020, and to examine how governments from different countries have adapted their long-term strategic thinking in response to the changing circumstances.

The disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic has put increased strain on the ability of governments to carry out their roles effectively in a world already facing increasingly complex challenges from shifting public expectations, political unrest, and budget cuts. As a participatory, intelligence-gathering, and medium- to long-term process, strategic foresight is inseparable from discussions about the future of government and is integral to developing the skills and expertise of public servants around the world. Primarily concerned with looking forward, learning from the past and present is an important part of any strategic planning process. 

Program Recap
Program Info

The second in the series of programs addressing governmental responses to the COVID-19 pandemic featured Duncan Cass-Beggs, Counsellor for Strategic Foresight at the OECD, as the lead discussant. Senior officials from Canada, Denmark, France, and the United Arab Emirates joined with him online to discuss the key roles of strategic foresight units during this crisis, ensuring that their countries understand and consider the long-term impacts of dealing with the crisis, to promote greater sustainability and resilience. The current crisis was viewed more as a "grey rhino" than a "black swan," a probable high-impact threat that had been neglected, and that magnified other existing issues prevalent in the respective countries.

Participant Profile

The Public Sector Strategy Network connects expertise across sectors and regions to address long term macro trends and immediate priorities. Members of the Network:

  • Current or recent ministers, cabinet secretaries, similar ranking senior officials or rising stars recognized as leaders in public sector innovation;
  • Disruptors and resource experts at the leading edge of technology, finance, communications, behavioral science, academia, philanthropy, and civil society;
  • City leaders, representing mayors or senior officials from cities; and
  • Network multipliers, representing top public service training institutions/networks and possibly business schools.

Participation in the online program is strictly limited by invitation only, including existing Network members, to facilitate open exchange of ideas among senior officials in an intimate and confidential manner.

Program Format

Participants will explore how different governments are responding, what strategies they have used, and which have been most effective. There will be ample time for questions and engagement.



Connect senior leaders and rising talent in government in an environment of trust and open exchange to foster new relationships, continued support and future partnerships


Facilitate active ongoing peer-to-peer learning through the sharing of examples of best practices and lessons learned from system failure and recovery, as well as reflections on the Retreat itself


Provide the opportunity for participants to collaborate and develop new skills that can be directly applied to their current work and organizations, supporting intrapreneurship in public sector culture


Develop together a framework for useful ongoing information sharing, opportunities for further cooperation, and external resources to help each other anticipate challenges and reimagine the design, delivery, and funding of core services and more effective communication with citizens, civil society and business.