How it Works

Horizons has been designed to help stimulate thought and discussion. You can use it independently, or with a group. You can choose to simply browse the cards and resources on offer, or you can take a more structured journey through the tool.

Watch our short animation above to find out more about Horizons. You can also see case studies of how two organisations have used Horizons: Julie's Bicycle and Peterborough Environment City Trust.

If you want to talk anything through or need help, please contact

Whilst there is no set way to use Horizons, here are some tips that may help you to get the most out of the Horizons tool:


1. Consider your objectives

What do you want to accomplish by using Horizons? Are you looking for some facts or case studies on a specific topic? Do you want to think through or test a new strategy you’re developing? Being clear about your objective can really help you get the most out of the tool.


2. Involve the right people

You can use Horizons alone or with a group. If you want to use it with a group, be sure to include those who bring different perspectives and experience to encourage cross-fertilisation. You can also download a sample workshop agenda that may help you design a group session.


3. Explore the cards

Horizons is made up of 31 topic cards over three broad subject areas: environmental boundaries, social and political factors, and essential needs. Look through the cards in whichever order you like, considering whether the card is relevant to your organisation and objective. You can flip the card to read more on that topic. In group settings, it may be helpful to look at a hard copy of the cards (click here to download and print).

Select the cards that are most useful, but we advise you to include at least one that doesn’t seem connected at first glance – these seemingly unconnected cards can provoke the most interesting discussions!


4. Delve deeper

Flipping a topic card brings up a brief overview as well as links to further reading, supporting media, and case studies.


5. Explore the case studies

You can explore all these ideas in practice through the case studies, which can be searched by industry. Each case study is also linked to a number of the cards, so you can explore the issues that others in your industry think are most important.


6. Think and discuss

You can use the ‘nudge’ questions to stimulate thought and discussion. You could also ask the following, more general questions:

  • . What are the challenges and opportunities that this topic presents to your organisation? Think about the life cycle of your products or services: what and where are the impacts?
  • . How are these driving changes to your market?
  • . Think about the potential risks to you supply chain, customer base etc.
  • . What new opportunities could open up?
  • . What could your organisation do in response to this topic?
  • . What is your overall contribution to a sustainable economy?

7. Capture Your Discussions

You can see which cards you have selected at any time by clicking the ‘Selected’ area in the ‘All Cards’ view. But it's useful to capture your discussion offline as you go. We have created a simple template that can help you do this. Download it and print it off here.


8. Prioritise

Prioritise areas and actions as appropriate. Individual risks and opportunities could be presented in a matrix to aid prioritisation.


9. Take away

When you have finished going through the cards, you can download a PDF of your selection. This is a useful record and prompt for further discussions and action.


10. Take action

Assess where you are after using Horizons. Do you need to look through any other cards? Do you need to follow up certain areas in more detail? Do you need to share the insights with other people? Use Horizons again if needed.

Horizons does not tell you how to achieve your goals, but will help you to identify and understand some of the important issues that could affect your organisation in the future. Logical next steps might include: mapping out how to take opportunities forward, develop an action plan and integrate thinking into your normal business planning or innovation process.