We are living in a rapidly changing world, largely fuelled by the technological changes that the ‘digital age’ has brought. These changes are creating opportunities, but also uncertainties, complexities and risks. Like the private sector, public institutions have to stay forward-looking to help citizens face challenges and promote their future well-being. This is where foresight comes increasingly into play, with the need to explore a range of plausible future scenarios that may emerge. How can we ensure that today’s decisions take account of tomorrow’s developments?
We have made foresight the special theme of this October 2018 edition of the ECA Journal. What is foresight, why is it relevant, what can it bring and how is it linked to audit? How is the ECA concerned? We begin our exploration with articles from foresight experts, from both the academic world and several international organisations (World Energy Council, NATO, OECD, IMF) — for example, Stefanie Babst from NATO – as well as the private consulting world (SAMI Consulting) and think tanks (SWP). We zoom in on the discussion of foresight within the ECA and the connections between foresight and audit, for instance with an interview with Juhan Parts, ECA Member and chair of the ECA’s Future Foresight Task Force. We look at how other EU institutions are exploring foresight issues through an interview with Klaus Welle, Secretary-General of the European Parliament, and a contribution from Manfred Kraff, Director-General of the European Commission’s Internal Audit Service. How do private sector auditors deal with foresight? We have the answers in contributions from EY Luxembourg and KPMG Germany. Professor Matthias Rossi from Augsburg University reflects on the ECA’s institutional options when it comes to foresight. While Magdalena Cordero, the ECA Director of Information, Workplace and Innovation, contemplates digital transformation and technology, and questions how we might bring innovation closer to the heart of the ECA.
08 Strategic foresight: inspiring our thinking about the (un)known (un)knowns
22 Engaging in foresight: a must for the ECA to be a global leader in public auditing
42 The future of Europe: a collection of opportunities
62 Strategic Foresight at the U.S. Government Accountability Office
69 The ECA’s future institutional positioning: conditions and options
Plus: facts about the work of the ECA’s Future Foresight Task Force and the related ECA seminar; contributions from the Commission’s EPSC and the European Parliament’s EPRS; information on the AuditFutures programme of the ICAEW accountancy institute; from foresight to audit selection — illustrating how foresight is woven into ECA audit programming; and impressions from a peer-learning meeting at the OECD. Furthermore, we have articles on how the ECA recently reached out to stakeholders, including information relating to the ECA’s flagship product, the annual report, published on 4 October, and other publications released this month.