CSPS develops special expertise to resolve gaps in strategic planning

|     James Kon     |

THE Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) has developed special expertise to resolve the current gaps in strategic planning in terms of provision of training, facilitation and consultancy in Brunei.

The centre’s contribution towards improving strategic planning for both private and public sector agencies was highlighted by Chief Researcher of CSPS Dr Diana Cheong in her talk during the launch of the Ministry of Development Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2018-2023 on Thursday.

CSPS was instrumental in providing relevant training and guidance in the formulation of the ministry’s policy framework and strategic plan.

“As part of the requirements of CSPS’ training programme on strategic planning, officers from the Ministry of Development (MoD) developed the strategic plan based on the CSPS/Haines ABC Model of Strategic Management. This model has three unique features that make it distinct from traditional planning,” Dr Diana said.

Firstly, the Haines approach, she explained, “emphasises a holistic approach to strategic planning known as the Systems Thinking Model. This is more appropriate as we now accept that an organisation or a department does not function in isolation from other organisations. We are part of the bigger environment and, therefore, any planning must have a holistic standpoint, taking into account the external environment and its implications similar to the whole-of-government approach and avoiding a narrow, piecemeal and fragmented approach”.

Minister of Development Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar presenting a memento to Chief Researcher of CSPS Dr Diana Cheong after the talk. – JAMES KON

“Secondly, our CSPS/ Haines model is more focussed on outcomes. We begin with defining our ideal vision of the future. Then we think backward through the strategic steps that will accomplish that vision. This focus on desired outcomes distinguishes strategic planning from the traditional or other forms of planning. Other forms merely move your business incrementally forward based only on your current direction and level of performance. The traditional approach encourages an unhealthy negativity as the organisation is stuck with trying to justify planning amid a list of negative factors. The most common one is the lack of budget and funding for any improvement to be made and plans become abandoned or lack of motivation. There is an overemphasis on tackling current problems and constraints and the plan becomes more of a fire fighting exercise.

“The world is in a continual flux of change due to technology. Often the changes are unpredicted and if unspotted, such emerging issues have significant impact on our plans. On this note, Dr Diana said, “CSPS has improvised the Haines approach and created a third distinctive feature. We made sure that Strategic Foresight concepts and Horizon Scanning tools are also a part of the strategic planning process and this ensures that the planning is future proof.

“Continual scanning of global trends and emerging issues affecting the ministry using foresight tools is a major step in our CSPS Strategic Planning approach and this is invaluable. By anticipating emerging issues, social, political, technological and other changes, we are a step up by making strategy and policy development more robust and effective in an ever-changing world, with the Vision development goals in sight at all times,” she explained.

Dr Diana also highlighted that stakeholder involvement and top management leadership support are vital for the success of the implementation of the strategic plan.

She commended the ministry for applying these principles with the involvement of all departments and the positive top level management support, including from Minister of Development Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar who attended the launching event.