Luke van der Laan, PhD, Australia

Luke is an influential and internationally recognised leadership and strategy thinkers. He has worked with leading companies and large public entities across the Asia Pacific region. Van der Laan is a doctoral research Programme Director at the University of Southern Queensland.

He is the lead author of the breakthrough book Foresight and Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region (Springer). In this volume, van der Laan presents evidence suggesting that leaders are generally underequipped to effectively develop sound strategy and that the impact of this is leading to the systemic undermining business potential and organisational performance.  He presents models for enhancing the capabilities that contribute to effective strategy and building organizations that are “fit for the future.”

With a focus on strategic leadership and decision making, van der Laan has published widely and integrates foresight and strategic thinking in the development of futures intelligent capabilities. He has introduced a dynamic model of strategy formulation known as TripleV© measuring these capabilities with a view on developing the strategic leadership of C Suite and strategy-level leaders. To support and empower organisations he has developed tools and platforms that have helped leaders provide strong direction to organisations.

Van der Laan’s previous roles as a senior executive, trustee and board member has informed his current work with large corporations and public enterprises. This provides depth and practicality to his research-informed insights and ability to de-mystify foresight and strategic thinking in times of dramatic change. Highlights of this work include:

  • Futures intelligent leadership
  • Strategic ambidexterity
  • Advanced scenario development
  • Strategic Leadership, employee engagement and change management
  • Strategic Leadership behaviours
  • Strategic Leadership formulating short- and long-term strategy across levels
  • Strategic Leadership in crisis
  • Systems thinking and complexity
  • Succession and strategic leadership development

Van der Laan’s work inside organisations on enablers of innovation and creativity has coined the phrases “creativity theft” and “negative creativity” as identifiable causes for failing to innovate and develop meaningful responses to these often hidden obstacles.  His understanding of people as the deliverers of performance in terms of engagement and “Line of Sight” with strategy, is globally unique. His model of engagement has helped organisations place their leaders within reach and fully aligned with a futures orientation that inspires action.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

Van der Laan, Luke (in press) Disentangling strategic foresight? A critical analysis of the term building on the pioneering work of Richard Slaughter, Futures Journal

van der Laan, Luke; Ormsby, Gail; Fergusson, Lee; and Pau, Maria (2021) The higher degree by research student as ‘master’: Utilising a design thinking approach to improve learner experience in higher degree research supervision, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 18(1)

Fergusson, L, van der Laan, L, Imran, S & Ormsby, G (2021) The development of work-integrated learning ecosystems: An Australian example of cooperative education, International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning

Bedford, J & van der Laan, L (2020) Operationalising a framework for organisational vulnerability to intentional insider threat: the OVIT as a valid and reliable diagnostic tool, Journal of Risk Research

Van der Laan, L (2020) Back to Futures: Futures Studies and its role in addressing the great civilizational challenges, Human Futures, April, WFSF, p.22-24

Fergusson, L, van der Laan, L, Ormsby, G & Azmy, W (2020) Applied micro- and macro-reflective cycles in work-based learning and research: two advanced practice contexts, Reflective Practice

Fergusson, L, van der Laan, L, Shallies, B, & Baird M, (2020) Resilience and Sustainable Futures: The Approach of Work-Based Research to Problems and Their Solutions, Journal of Work-Applied management

Gardiner, G & van der Laan, L. (2019) Most people think playing chess makes you ‘smarter’, but the evidence isn’t clear on that, The Conversation, July 11

Fergusson L., van der Laan L. & Baker S. (2019) Reflective Practice and Work-Based Research: A Description of Micro- and Macro-Reflective Cycles, Reflective Practice

Fergusson, L, van der Laan L., White, C. & Balfour, J (2019) The Ethos and Transformational Nature of Professional Studies: A Study of Student Experience in Australia, Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

van der Laan, L and Ostini, J (2019) Enabling innovative postgraduate research: critical foresight and strategic consideration for university leaders, in University Development and Administration. Post-graduate Education in Higher Education, edited by Padró F F., Harmes, R, Harmes and M, Danaher, P. Springer p.65-84

van der Laan, L (2018) Stellenbosch University: a futures vision in Forward: The futures of higher education in Africa, Institute for Futures Research, Stellenbosch University Press, Stellenbosch, p. 57-64

van der Laan, L and McCallum, T (2017) Planning organisational futures in Blockchain environments – a systems theory perspective and possible solutions to enhance trust. Business Futures. pp. 218-226

Hines, A., Gary, J., Daheim, C. and van der Laan, L. (2017) Building Foresight Capacity: Toward a Foresight Competency Model. World Futures Review, p.123-141

van der Laan , L (2018) Asia Pacific Economic Risks and Futures in Wow, How did you know that? Applying Risk Intelligence Concepts in Chaotic Times, edited by Yap, J & Nones, N, Gadwise, NSW p.70-89

van der Laan, L (2017) Health Care Foresight: Identifying megatrends, convergence and scenarios of ways in which the future can be imagined in Not your ordinary future health care edited by Yap, J, Chong, L, Yong, C & Ng, Z, Deloitte, Singapore p.33-54

van der Laan, L. and Yap, J., (2016). Foresight & Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region. Springer Singapore: Imprint: Springer

van der Laan, Luke and Neary, Liz (2016) Equity and access as keys for opening open learning: the case for virtually facilitated work-based learning in 2016. Open Learning and Formal Credentialing in Higher Education: Curriculum Models and Institutional Policies edited by Reushle, S., Antonio, A. and Keppell, M, IGI Global. Hershey, PA pp. 263-290

Van der Laan (2014) Community Capacity Building: A question of sustainability? in Burton, L. Danaher, P. & Postle, G (Eds) Community Capacity Building: Lessons from Adult Learning in Australia, NIACE Publications, London

van der Laan, Luke & Erwee, Ronel (2013). In good hands? Foresight and strategic thinking capabilities of regional university leaders. In Frielick, S., Buissink-Smith, N., Wyse, P., Billot, J.,Hallas, J. and Whitehead, E. (Eds.) Research and Development in Higher Education: The Place of Learning and Teaching, 36 (pp 485 – 501)

Erwee, R., Albion, P. and Van der Laan, L (2013).  ‘Connectedness needs of external doctoral students’.  In Willems, J. Tynan, B. and James, R. (Eds.), Outlooks and Opportunities in blended and distance learning, IGI Global, Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference

van der Laan, L. and Erwee, R., 2012. Foresight styles assessment: a valid and reliable measure of dimensions of foresight competence? Foresight, 14(5), pp.374-386.

Erwee, R, Albion, P & van der Laan, L (2011) “Connectedness needs of doctoral students” Micro level research in distance and flexible learning , SUMMIT Volumes 2, Athabasca University Press

van der Laan, L (2010), ‘Foresight competence and the Strategic Thinking of Strategy-Level Leaders’, University of Southern Queensland PhD Dissertation

van der Laan, L (2009) ‘Foresight and the strategic thinking of strategy level leaders: IFR graduate attributes’, Institute for Futures Research, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town

van der Laan, L (2008) ‘The imperative of strategic foresight to strategic thinking’, Journal of Futures Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 21-42.

van der Laan, L (2006) ‘SASA in 2025: a critical study’, University of Stellenbosch Futures Omnibus, Cape Town

Conferences and presentations

(Peer-reviewed papers)

o   Baker, S, van der Laan, L, Fergusson L (2020) The organisational and personal impacts of a work-based learning program in Australia, 7th International Conference on Professional & Practice Based Doctorates which takes place at The Racecourse, York

o   Gardiner, G, Ormsby, G and van der Laan, L (2019) Identified benefits that influence Australian schools to value the teaching of chess, Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Annual Conference, Kelvin Grove, Australia from 2 – 5 December

o   Van der Laan, L (2019) Back to futures: Exploring the nexus between foresight and strategy, 8th World Futures Studies Federation Conference, Mexico City, September 2019

o   Schultz, Carol, van, der, Laan, Luke, Ormsby, Gail (2019) Creating constructive mentoring spaces for marginalised regional youth. A conceptual model and study from south-west Queensland, Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Briisbane

o   Van der Laan, L Fergusson, L & Ormsby, G (2019) Students as “Masters” in professional postgraduate education: a Professional Studies perspective, Symposium on Education Research in Professional Disciplines Law and Engineering, University of Southern Queensland, September 2019

o   Van der Laan, L Fergusson, L  Muianga, H (2018) Third-Generation Postgraduate Research Programs: The Case for Enabling Personalised Research through Innovative Work-based Learning Queensland University Educators Showcase (QUES), The University of Sunshine Coast, October 2018

o   Van Der Laan, L., Ostini, J., Fergusson, L., Allredd, T., (2017) The Innovative Australian University; The Role Of 3rd Generation Postgraduate Research Programmes. International Science of Learning Conference: Research to Reality. 18-20 September, 2017. Brisbane, Australia.

o   van der Laan, L. and Ostini, J. (2016) Enabling innovative postgraduate research: The case for Professional Studies Queensland University Educators Showcase (QUES), The University of Queensland, 26 September 2016.

o   Bedford, J & Van Der Laan, L (2016), ‘Organizational Vulnerability to Insider Threat’, in C Stephanidis (ed.), HCI International 2016 – Posters’ Extended Abstracts: 18th International Conference, HCI International 2016, Toronto, Canada, July 17-22, 2016, Proceedings, Part I, Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 465-70.

o   Van der Laan, L & Erwee, R “In good hands? Foresight and strategic thinking capabilities of regional university leaders”, 13th Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) Conference, Auckland, July 2013

o   van der Laan, L “The role of leaders’ cognitions, memetic change and innovation in building sustainable organisations: A conceptual model” Trends and Future of Sustainable Development Conference, Finland Futures Research Centre, June 2011.

o   Erwee R, Albion P & Van der Laan L “Connectedness needs of doctoral students”, Education 2011-2021: Global challenges and perspectives of blended and distance learning Summit, DEHub, Sydney, February 2011

o   van der Laan L & Erwee R “Foresight Styles of strategy level leaders”, Proceedings of the annual ANZAM conference, Adelaide , December 2010


o   “Unlocking Innovation” Deloitte Southeast Asia (Enterprise Risk Services), Annual Residential Conference, 2013, Bangkok

o   Regional University Strategy and Regional Socio-Economic Development”, Toowoomba Regional Enterprise (TRE) Strategic

o   Direction Workshop, April 2012

o   “Regional Universities & Regional Development: Leadership transcending the HE ‘Flatlands’” EIDOS Institute Conference – Achieving Regional Development, Brisbane, September 2011

o   “Transcending the learning futures flatland: a futures-orientated perspective for higher education leaders” Follow the Sun Learning Futures Festival, April 2011

o   “Foresight Competence and the Strategic Thinking of Strategy Level leaders’, School of Management and Marketing, Business Faculty, University of Southern Queensland, May 2010

o   “A new model of leadership for sustainable organisations”, Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development, November 2009