Upcoming Program


Governments worldwide are under pressure to meet complex needs as populations age, countries urbanize, and technology transforms lives and work. They have lead responsibility to prepare their societies for a radically changing world, yet face shrinking budgets and declining public trust.

The annual invitation-only retreat of the Public Sector Strategy Network enables senior public sector leaders to speak openly among peers about major disruptive forces confronting governments over the next 10-20 years and how to respond and plan effectively for them. Together, they devise year-round opportunities for practical exchange and follow-up among participating countries and institutions.

By invitation only

The invitation-only Annual Foresight Retreat in Salzburg allows senior leaders to think more horizontally across sectors and highlight issues to consider from different perspectives. Interactive debate and hands-on problem-solving provides a rare opportunity to engage informally with a select group of dynamic peers, away from media and gatekeepers, to test out ideas for immediate follow-up at the technical level. Network membership enables participants to shape the meeting agenda and generate impact for individuals, institutions and ideas. Government representatives already active in the Network have benefited from being able to visit one another, share cross-border experience, and expand their knowledge base to better implement domestic agendas.

Building on outcomes from the annual retreat, the Public Sector Strategy Network develops ongoing activities tailored to members’ inputs and domestic agendas for demonstrable and sustainable results and tracks the impact of continuous peer-to-peer learning in the public sector.


Each retreat is fully residential, with all accommodations and meals on site at Salzburg Global Seminar’s headquarters in Schloss Leopoldskron. This historic venue – a rococo palace built for an archbishop-prince, later home to Salzburg Festival founder Max Reinhardt, backdrop for the movie The Sound of Music, and now an award-winning hotel – provides an inspiring setting for privacy, trust, and openness. Adherence to the Chatham House Rule ensures an open and free exchange among peers.

In connection with the Retreat – either in preparation or follow-up – participants will be expected to contribute one to two set pieces each year. These could take different forms e.g. speaking at an online session (restricted to Network members only), writing a short op-ed, or hosting other members at a site visit in their country.


The program will bring together a group of no more than 30 participants, who will include:

  • Current ministers, cabinet secretaries, similar ranking senior officials or rising stars from priority countries 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 in priority countries; and
  • Network multipliers, representing top public service training institutions/networks and possibly business schools.


The Public Sector Strategy Network aims to build a mutually-supportive coalition of engaged individuals and institutions that are better equipped to be at the cutting edge of public sector strategy, innovation and forward planning as a result of this engagement. The Network has four goals:

  1. Facilitate active ongoing peer-to-peer learning under the values of trust and open exchange, sharing best practices and lessons learned from system failure and recovery;
  2. Help senior leaders and rising talents in government reimagine the design, delivery, and funding of core services and develop more effective partnerships and communication with citizens, civil society and business;
  3. Support “intrapreneurship” within public sector culture and recruitment through new ways to redeploy, reskill, and reorganize people and operations; and
  4. Optimize cross-sector government innovation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.