Growing awareness of Foresight, OECD, Paris

The Annual Meeting of the OECD Government Foresight Community (GFC) in Paris, 7-8 October, was again a high point for those following the future of governance and strategic foresight. Thanks to Strategic Foresight Counsellor Duncan Cass-Beggs and his excellent team, the Community is growing, with great presentations by Futurists, governments using foresight, researchers and practitioners from all over OECD countries. Newly invited participants joined from the automotive industry, banking and insurance, as well as civil society. Fascinating initiatives e.g. on the Polar region showed how awareness of the use of Strategic Foresight is on a rise in our societies. Invited by the organizers, foresight initiatives have also started in several OECD directorates.

Many questions went through my mind in the course of the event. For example, how to deal with digitalisation and things like crowd data? How to understand foresight and communicate about futures in societies with growing polarisation? How to motivate decision makers to think and act beyond election periods in longer terms? Whom to involve in transformational scenarios, and in other complex societal approaches?

In any case, I also had the pleasure to present our 4sing experiences in supporting the project “Let them eat money! WhichFuture!?” – an interdisciplinary, participative research and theatre play, which film and theatre director Andres Veiel and author Jutta Doberstein had initiated in 2017. It is a coproduction of the Deutsches Theater Berlin with the Humboldt Forum Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Adrian and I moderated and facilitated parts of the futures process with academics, entrepreneurs and civil society. Multiple scenarios were generated in 13 parallel workshops and then fleshed out into a single story line in plenary with about 250 participants. The aim was to outline the unfolding of a global economic crash in 2028.  The resulting theatre piece has played non-stop since emering in 2018 in Berlin and several other locations in Germany as well as in Seoul, South Korea. Participants were especially excited how participative futures projects can bridge and frame policy debates. A final conference will follow in 2020.

foresight-to-strategy, lively event