industry news SME profile Monday 13 Jul 2020 @ 17:41 forward thinking at Work in the Public Sector


forward thinking is a strategy consultancy highly experienced across multiple industries and sectors, not least UK Government and public sector. Since 1998 we have worked collaboratively with our clients on strategies which grow the long-term value of their organisations and improve their performance.

We believe that our job is to provide clients with inspiring clarity, simplifying complexity and delivering practical ideas to help their organisations grow. We do not peddle stock solutions, offer simple formulas for success or trot out the latest Business School models. Our approach is to listen to, talk with and work alongside clients to help them take the business forward and create momentum. We use simple language, no ‘management speak’ and act with tact and discretion.


Below are just two recent examples of forward thinking at work in the public sector:


  • The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, sought to transform their five offices across the UK​
  • They were keen to introduce agile workplace practices both to improve the effectiveness of their UK office footprint and play a role in helping change the organisation’s culture to one more outward-facing and commercial​
  • A detailed, data-driven analysis of space utilisation and user needs was required, alongside engagement with the Board and Senior Stakeholders around the opportunities and benefits of change – we led the analysis, developed design briefs and delivered the change programme​


  • Assessing the Strategic Landscape – detailed background review examining the organisation and the broader context for change through an extensive stakeholder interview programme ​
  • Employee Survey & Space Utilisation Study – to provide a 360 degree understanding of employee working models and the issues and opportunities for changing the workplace structure​
  • Internal Evidence Collection & Review – operational level interviews with managers to understand headcount numbers, projections and individual team requirements to inform the design and space planning process​
  • Office Etiquette Development – creation of a universal UK-wide office etiquette in collaboration with staff from every site, to ensure the functionality of the new workplaces and support productivity  ​
  • Communication and Implementation – facilitating agile working workshop sessions with each division / team, creating a handbook to accompany the multi-phased move programme and creating a broader project communication strategy to ensure staff were well informed and positive about the transition 


A successfully delivered, evidence-led workplace change programme across multiple offices accommodating diverse team requirements, which has led to a significant change in working culture & dynamics


  • As part of the Department for Trade and Investment’s (now Department for Business Innovation and Skills) foresight project on Intelligent Infrastructure Systems, forward thinking inc were commissioned to consider the impact of different scenarios on the future of work and its physical setting​
  • We worked within a framework set by the department and focused on using an informed approach to envision how corporates, their strategy and their human resources may evolve in the future ​


  • Desk Research and Scenario Analysis – We ensured that our team analysed and familiarised themselves with the knowledge base that underpinned the four broad scenarios provided by DTI. Within this framework, we conducted extensive desk research around relevant trends and external opinions of potential future scenarios for the world of work​
  • Expert Interviews - We assembled a panel of experts, including some who had already been involved in the foresight project along with corporate strategists, journalists, academics and designers​
  • Internal Workshops - Through a series of internal workshops and brainstorm meetings within forward thinking inc, some including selected clients, we developed and honed our visions of the future of work. These scenarios were then refined and applied to DTI’s framework to produce three visions into the future of workplace​
  • Scenarios Brought to life - Our Creative & Design team interpreted and illustrated these visions bringing to life the future contrasts in work styles​


  • A document distilling the key ideas and visions of the future that highlighted key choices in the way that organisations maximise the productivity of their workforce and plan for future sustainability challenges ​

The material was presented at the BT Tower Business Leaders IIS Launch event and was subsequently presented at a cross-departmental Government session. It received national press coverage


We are proud to be a trusted adviser to an impressive list of some of the world’s most successful companies, major charities and influential government departments:


T: (+44) 20 3908 5652