Rowena Morrow has over 15 years experience in public and private sector organisations, including the Australian Customs Service and The Shell Company. Rowena lectured for 5 years into the Strategic Foresight Program and the MBA at Swinburne University. She is currently working part-time with the Asia Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne, designing research into financing strategies for social innovation. Rowena is a Board Member of the Association of Professional Futurists.
Rowena’s interest in foresight was first kindled in 1996 through her involvement in an award winning project team within the public sector that developed a ten-year foresight strategy. Rowena has worked with the federal government, private enterprise, and the community and education sectors on future related projects. In 2001, Rowena was searching for a post-graduate course that could develop her thinking into areas she felt intuitively were important for organisations and the community. After locating the Master of Strategic Foresight at Swinburne, she began the course as part of the second cohort. The experience of meeting people who understood what she was feeling and could challenge her to articulate the importance of foresight as a thinking capacity assisted her to find core purpose.
Between 2002 and 2009, Rowena worked with the Strategic Foresight Program at Swinburne in a number of roles including publications officer, program development and lecturer. Rowena was asked to lecture into the Masters program and began to do so as soon as she completed her studies. She found the teaching practice at Swinburne gave her insight into how people think about the future and the ways in which this thinking capacity can be developed over time.
Rowena now works with clients through Prospective Services Consulting to develop new ways of engaging people around foresight thinking and social innovation. Rowena’s background in policy development, planning and product marketing has given her a broad and varied toolkit with which to approach the future. She utilises a range of foresight methods to foster leadership and organisational culture via the construction of a long-term view. “Strategic foresight has the unique attribute of allowing the future to become a playground in which the opportunities and challenges of the present can be assessed and possible actions rehearsed.” A particular interest is the development of hope as a positive capacity for engaging in change in the world. Based on the work of C.R Snyder, Hope transcends the optimism/pessimism dichotomy, allowing people to move to empowered action.
Rowena believes that developing foresight capability delivers increased flexibility and resilience to meet strategic and operational challenges at individual, organisational and community levels. Her capacity to synthesise information and to understand the dynamics and complexities inherent in organisational settings provides her with the ability to be insightful and innovative in solution generation. Rowena brings passion and energy to foresight capacity building, especially around the development of individual, organisational, and community leadership through the creation of preferred and hopeful futures.
“Rowena is an expert in the field of foresight and did a great job of keeping everything on track.”
Workshop participant Jan 2010
“From my point of view it was encouraging to be able to work in collaborative manner with the community rather than having government drive the process. The challenges the community needs to become more conscience of are big issues. Issues that the community itself cannot address, however the process used by yourself and Peter not only challenged the community but allowed for rational thought, discussion and problem solving. The ‘futures’ discussed during the conversation cafe allowed for discussions at depth, but the meta process of challenging people about how they think about the challenges rather than what they think about the challenges. The outcomes of the futures forum could not have been achieved using any other planning tool. The community has a long history of planning and to undertake another planning event would have been counter productive. The Futures workshop was certainly appropriate, challenging our thinking and understanding of ourselves, the community and how we may shape the futures we want. The process, thinking and outcomes of the forum have certainly endorsed our choice of using Prospective Services and Futures Thinking rather than any other process.”
Steve Vallance, Ouyen Futures Forum, 2008