In 2014, by order of Lithuanian Association of Museums, ProBaltic Consulting organised and held strategic planning training and future scenario building workshops. The task of ProBaltic Consulting was to furnish participants with knowledge and skills in strategic planning, development of future scenarios, visions, and roadmapping, and to develop foresight and strategy for collaboration network between Lithuanian museums and schools up to 2025 in order to define museums’ and schools’ collaboration development areas. The service was rendered in compliance with essential foresight development stages, on the basis of the initially prepared special methodological guidelines.
The service was rendered in compliance with fundamental foresight development stages, on the basis of the special strategic guideline methodology of long-term development feasibilities for museums’ and schools’ collaboration purposes, functions, services, and management prepared at the beginning of the service provision and adapted to this case.
The major challenge in developing the foresight was the outlook for 2025, as it is often difficult to tell what will happen in two or three years. But in this case the objective and planning had to cover ten years to come. Any strategy developed and its decisions are associated with the future, not the present. Though all our knowledge and expertise are based on the past and present situation, we need to develop a strategy for the future (quite distant future!) right now, even not knowing what kind of future could be. We had to look for methodological solutions to pool together existing knowledge about the past, present and future in order to create a wise strategy for the future.
Figure 1. Strategic decisions in the course of time
A foresight building process has been implemented in five stages (August to December 2014):
- During the first stage (introduction), there was a strategic environmental scanning carried out – information collection and systemisation. The methodology developed was use to analyse the current situation of museums, including their relations with comprehensive schools, to identify key issues to be addressed. Furthermore, there were identified major trends affecting development and cooperation of museums and schools. Most of works at this stage are focused on the past and the present: on what has been created, what do we have.
- At the second stage (analysis, interpretation, foresight), based on results under the first stage and a future scenario method, during the strategic planning workshops in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda and Siauliai, involving over 90 experts, there were trends with a maximal potential effect identified, quantitative comparisons made, cross-impact analysis conducted, and 16 alternative scenarios of future collaboration between museums and schools for 2025 developed.
- At the third stage (foresight, outcome), top 6 developed and selected alternative scenarios for the future were assessed through Delphi survey which involved 212 experts. Delphi survey is an anonymous, systematic survey method, including a series of questionnaires with an assured feedback control, assessment of expert opinions, and a rated consensus on desirability and feasibility of future scenarios. Delphi survey’s goal is to collect and objectively summarise expert knowledge required for choosing a scenario, revising and developing it based on sound social science methodologies. That method has allowed to analyse qualitative data in a more objective, quantifiable and reliable manner, thus ensuring that all the future scenarios are not overestimated or underestimated due to the dominance of some individuals during expert discussion or an improperly moderated discussion process. At the end of this phase, there was formulated a general vision – A Modern Museum for a School (Modern (but still feasible) proactively relevant for traditional values) – that has become a common goal by agreement of all interested parties.
- During the fourth stage (outcome), a signpost for implementing the future vision, selected through the expert survey, was prepared: key actions to bridge the gap between the current and desired (and feasible) visions were defined. The stage is aimed to submit proposals as to what alternative roads might be travelled to the selected vision and how it should be done (“What should we foresee? What will we do?”). Four strategic planning sessions in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, and Siauliai developed four different signposts; they were integrated into a single instrument to formulate the basis for developing the strategic guidelines.
- The fifth stage was dedicated to the preparation of Lithuanian museums’ and schools’ cooperation network and strategic development guidelines up to 2025, comprising: analysis of internal and external factors (political, legal, economic, social, technological); analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT); vision; directions and objectives for priority development; as well as recommendations for possible measures to achieve the objectives and targets. Strategic development guidelines have been prepared on the basis of foreign countries’ (in particular, the United Kingdom and Denmark) experience and analysis of the situation in Lithuania, as well as information gathered and material developed during the strategic sessions.
To summarise the entire process of development of museums’ and schools’ collaboration strategic guidelines, we can state that it made is possible to identify more strategic options, since there were addressed issues which are not always taken into account in the traditional strategic planning process: How might a museum and a school look like in 10 years? How do we want them to look like? What opportunities do we have in the long term? How could these opportunities influence collaboration of museums and schools in the long term? What are the factors affecting those opportunities? What are the potential obstacles? Knowledge of all the concerned parties and experts, foresight development methods (future scenario building signposts, Delphi survey, etc.), consensus building activities, and best foreign practices were resorted to in order to prepare the museums’ and schools’ collaboration strategic guidelines. These guidelines set out the actions to be done first, what we can do today, what the vision of all concerned parties on the collaboration of schools and museums in ten years is, and what end result we can expect. This instrument is a good foundation for further work because it is based on the consensus of all the parties concerned and uses the hindsight and foresights on the possible and desired future.