Rob Rae

Hello, I’m Robert Rae. I started my career working in the Civil Service in Scotland. I worked in different policy areas including Housing, Local Government Finance, Bill Teams, and Private Offices.

When the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999, I jumped at the opportunity to work there. It was a time of great optimism with the promise of a different kind of politics. I worked as a speech writer for Lord David Steel and Sir George Reid in the Presiding Officers Office (Speaker).

During that time, I became interested in futures tools and techniques as ways to help plan for Scotland’s longer term, away from four-year electoral cycles. I worked as Director of Scotland’s Futures Forum, the Parliament’s Foresigh Think-Tank where we undertook national studies around positive ageing, sustainable communities, alcohol and drugs and how Scotland could become a learning nation through education. Through that time, I became increasingly interested in systems and systems leadership, along with service design, as ways to make sense of the complex public systems we worked in.

In 2010, we formed our own research, evaluation and design company, Horizons Research – we now have eleven staff and Associates working in Scotland. Around that time, I met Anton Florek who also had a keen interest in Foresight and scenario planning and I’ve been an Associate at the College ever since. The College is a wonderful organisation and I’ve worked with fantastic colleagues over the years who have done great deal to support leadership in Children’s Services.

Most recently, the brilliant Ellie Bevis and I set up a Staff College Faculty to support Foresight work in health and social care. The College has a partnership with the NHS in the South West and, for the last four years, we have supported transformation, workforce development and workforce planning through scenario planning. Lastly, I work with the College on their ongoing research framework, to ensure we continue to have a high quality research base to support the sector going forward.

I look forward to continuing to work with staff and Associates in the coming months and years.

Community Newsletter, September 2023