Scenario Planning for Future Security Threats

Mini Conference

(Thursday June 28th2018 Coventry University Campus, London)

09.15 – 09.30:             Registration Coffee and Tea

09.30 – 10.00:             The CREST project: Prof Math Noortmann, Coventry University & Prof Juliette Koning, Oxford Brookes University, PI’s

10.00 – 10.30:             Keynote: Neil Walsh (UNODC) – Imagining the Future of Security and Policing

10.30 – 10.45:             Q&A

10.45 – 11.15:             Keynote: Prof Cliff Oswick (Cass Business School, UK) – Towards New Forms of Organizational Change: Beyond Bureaucracy and Strong Leadership

11.15 – 11.30:             Q&A

11.30 – 12.30:             Discussion: How to prepare law enforcement and security organisations to change for unexpected futures

12.30 – 14.00:             Lunch

14.00 – 14.15              Welcome Back: Juliette Koning & Math Noortmann

14.15 – 14.45              Presentation toolkit scenario planning: Dr Joost Vervoort (Utrecht University)

14.45 – 15.00:             Q&A

15.00 – 16.00:             Discussion: toolkit content and its implementation in policing and security organisations

16.00 – 16.30:             Concluding remarks

Address: Coventry University London: 109-117 Middlesex St, London E1 7JF

Nearest train and subway station: Liverpool Street

Please do registerwith Zsófia Hacsek (

Website: (

Keynote speakers

Neil Walsh, Chief Cybercrime and Anti-Money Laundering Section, Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch, UN Office on Drugs and Crime. 

Cliff Oswick,  Professor of Organization Theory,  Cass Business School, City University of London.


Imaginative Scenario Planning for Law Enforcement Organizations

The funding for this project comes from:

the Centre for Evidence and Research on Security Threats & the Economic and Social Research Council

Project Partners:


Dr. Joost Vervoort                                  Dr. Ingrid Hoofd.                      Prof. Dr. Juliette Koning.                        me

(University of Utrecht, NL)             (University of Utrecht, NL)         (Oxford Brookes University, UK)


Project Summary:

Scenario planning is a tool for organizations to anticipate unpredictable futures. For this, organizations need to (1) imagine a variety of possible futures, (2) undertake a holistic analysis of those futures, and (3) strategically plan for the long term. Law enforcement organizations must prepare for hitherto unknown security threats which are determined by future developments in (cyber)technology, transport, and climate change for example. It is the character, impact and the potential interconnectedness of such unknown threats that require attention.

Current research and policy documents indicate that scenario planning is not widely practiced in law enforcement organizations. Law enforcement traditionally focuses on short term operational and tactical planning. In addition, they work with scenario thinking based on past trends which inhibits the organization’s capacity to anticipate future threats in an effective and flexible manner. It must also be noted that law enforcement organizations are virtually excluded from both fundamental and applied academic research on scenario planning.

This project addresses a) the need for law enforcement to engage in scenario planning and b) the absence of law enforcement organizations in scenario planning research. It does so in the following ways:

  1. It offers a better fundamental and applied understanding of scenario planning as a technique to imagine future security threats.
  2. It counters the pervasiveness of ‘command and control’ and ‘prediction’ thinking.
  3. It enhances of the capacity of law enforcement organizations to detect, anticipate and mitigate such threats through the advancement of a scenario planning toolkit.

The project aims to:

  1. Critically review existing scenario planning theories and practices, and operationalise the concept for application to law enforcement organizations.
  2. Identify the potential and competence for effective scenario planning practices in law enforcement organizations.
  3. Develop an imaginative, creative and holistic approach to future scenarios in law enforcement organizations.
  4. Improve the capability to envisage otherwise unimagined scenarios in the fields of security and law enforcement.

To address these aims, the project will:

  1. Investigate the policies and practices of two national law enforcement organizations: the Dutch National Unit and the UK National Crime Agency (NCA).
  2. Collect new data through creative focus groups.
  3. Organize workshops to foster the co-production of new insights and knowledge.
  4. Develop a specific scenario planning toolkit that fosters imagination, creativity and holistic thinking in law enforcement organizations.

The project develops the competence to critically imagine and strategically plan for a future other than traditional law enforcement planning strategies and mechanisms currently allow for. To ensure the co-production of knowledge, the adaptation of workable toolkit, and the dissemination of the findings, two focus groups and two workshops will be organized. These activities will involve the participation of law enforcement officers from the UK and the Netherlands to assess different national scenario planning environments. The participants will co-design a toolkit to facilitate creative, novel and relevant scenario planning. These methods include deductive and inductive scenario approaches as well as morphological scenario development, simulation gaming and information assemblages. In addition, the project reflects the call for ‘interdisciplinary proposals’ and for ‘researchers who have not traditionally worked in the security domain’. The combination of disciplines and expertise guarantees an innovative and creative approach to data collection that brings new knowledge to the scenario planning debate from law, politics & security (Noortmann), organizational anthropology & creative methods (Koning), scenario planning & systems resilience (Vervoort), and gaming & new media (Hoofd).