Here we show you some of the main methodologies we work with.

All of us do the work we do because we want it to make a difference. It can be really tough for individuals within an organisation to maintain momentum, and embed change, particularly given the recent pressures and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic. Horizons can help.

With years of experience, listening to the public sector workforce and the challenges they face, we’ve brought together a fresh range of methods, tools, expertise and skills to support our partners and clients. Here we show you some of the main methodologies we work with.

Preparing for the future

Scenario Planning

..stop being spectators and become creative participants in shaping our own future

Margaret Heffernan (2020)

We use a range of appreciative tools, in particular scenario planning, to guide diverse groups of people, with different perspectives, to share understanding of what they want to achieve in the future and what they need to do now to shape the journey.


Horizon Scanning

Driver workshops

Detailed literature reviews

Scenario architecture

Scenario roll-out

Testing and toolkit development

Immersion workshops, events, training

Testing strategic assumptions



Evaluation is as much about improving as it is about proving

One of our core strengths is in evidence gathering and evaluation, working alongside partners to evaluate and prove what works but also as a learning partner to think about ways to improve practice. We are particularly interested in evaluating impact within complexity.

We also use Contribution Analysis in evaluations which tend to be narrative in nature and often read like a “journey”’ What’s your organisation’s change story? What steps do you imagine going through? What values and ethos will guide you? What resources will you need for the journey. CA offers deep and powerful insights and is an approach that all staff can get behind (moving away from traditional ideas of strategic plans which lie on shelves). Using CA, building your organisation’s strategic approach can involve (and be owned) by staff and partners.

Impact, outcomes evaluation

Summative evaluation

Double loop feedback

Organisational learning

Research and policy

Research and Policy

Policy development is complex, messy and based upon many interactions between many competing perspectives

Our cycle

Much of the work we do seeks to connect policy and practice. We work in the space where practice informs policy and policy informs practice. We tend to work through a tried-and-tested cycle of:

  • 1 collecting data
  • 2 interpreting data
  • 3 generating insights
  • 4 presenting options
  • 5 making recommendations for action

Literature reviews

Qualitative and quantitative fieldwork

Comparative studies

Lesson learning studies

Recommendations, reports, think pieces, digests, thematic briefing papers

System leadership

System Leadership

A system that knows itself can change

We have a particular interest in working with leaders who operate across organisational and system boundaries to facilitate social change and to develop shared leadership of complex challenges.

We specialise in development interventions which respond to the distinctive context and needs of your team, organisation or community. We offer programmes, focused on particular leadership aspects (eg leadership of change, communication and influencing skills, team and system relationships), all designed to help embed leadership capability and build confidence over an extended period of time.

We give leaders time and space to


Think about how they “think” so that they can choose how they want to act as leaders


Build the confidence and capabilities needed to lead teams and communities facing complex challenges.


Become reflective practitioners, noticing and working with their own behaviours and those of others in order to develop strong relationships and collaborative environments


Work across personal, organisational and system boundaries to generate shared purpose and shared ambition for change.


Prepare for the future: developing the skills, practices and tools that support leadership of a rapidly changing future.

Creative engagement

Creative engagement

Those with the sharpest focus on what needs to change are often those people most affected by the issues

Much of our work is about bringing people from communities together with decision makers and for them to share perspectives, expectations and co-design ways of working. In particular, we like to develop and guide tests-of-change where groups of people can experiment and try new ways of working.

Determine purpose of engagement on co-production ladder. Have decision makers in the room.

Discuss aims and purpose in advance with those who may take part.

Agree where to bring people together - online, in person, in a community hall, a park, cafe, a youth club, a community anchor organisation.

Design engagement space, activities - using actors, music, drama, gaming, discussion cafes, open space events.

Agree facilitation methods (teaching, mirror, journey facilitation).

Agree ways to capture the learning.



Leading is about learning to be a facilitator

Ashif Shaikh

We have many years experience of bringing people together to share perspectives, expectations and designing ways of working. Either physically or online, we facilitate one-off team sessions, to bigger events and engagement programmes. We use a range of participatory and deliberative methods to stimulate thinking, discussion and clarity.

Work closely with you or others to explore who should be included, the purpose and scope of the facilitation.

Design a facilitation programme which achieves your goals,and consult with you on this before finalising.

On the day, shape, guide, listen - and at times challenge - participants.

Capture the outputs in a useful way - from creative illustrations, to completed action plans or partnership agreements.

Develop and guide tests-of-change where groups of people can try new ways of working together.

Online facilitation using a range of platforms.