The “Global X-Centers Network” annual meeting 2019, Vienna

By martina

The Global X Network meeting in Vienna on 28 October brought together a group of researchers from the USA, Japan, Brazil, and Europe, all of whom had a great knowledge of Futures and Foresight. The theme this year was Urban Futures.

The key messages from ´Mapping the Urban Future´ and on ´Ramification of Green Urban Futures´ (research done by X Network members) meant I could literally feel the need for enormous transformational processes to make cities more liveable ecosystems. To my surprise, they suggested that cities should be made smaller in future – whilst megacities continue to grow they will become less governable up if decisions are not decentralised to smaller neighbourhoods. It will be interesting to see if decision makers, business and citizens understand the urgency of implementing new approaches and will act today to co-create new cities for tomorrow.

Later discussions turned around the work being done by other X-Network researchers on how big global topics like climate change, new technologies, digitalization and resilience, and the platform economy with its pros and cons will influence the future of our societies. For instance, this could lead to new X-Events, such as unexpected Energy Blackouts (a possible side effect of the energy transition?).

In any case, the Global X Network remains a place to learn, to contribute, and to invent new research projects for the future. It is part of a rising awareness on Futures and Strategic Foresight in politics, business and civil society.

One final thing. My personal surprise in Vienna came when checking in at the Hotel Wandl, which I chose ´par hasard’.  It turns out they already had my name and address perfectly prepared. Only, the data and address were in Paris, saved from a trip I made (and had forgotten about) 15 years ago. This shows how data can follow you around – and sometimes mean people are wrong about you…

8th International Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning Symposium, Singapore

by Adrian

The International Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning Symposium (IRAHSS) in Singapore is always a highpoint in the agenda for those trying to make sense of the future. Once again a super line-up, with some extremely interesting insights, ranging from the impact of technologies that are currently just below the horizon, through the hidden impact of migration and the state of (de)globalisation.

My only caveat, the dominance of (mostly male) speakers from the developed Eurasian and North American countries. Thanks to the whole team!


Global X Network Annual Meeting in Vienna

by Adrian

At this year’s Global X meeting, I was particularly struck by the discussions around Artificial Intelligence and platform economics with the likely enormous impact on all industries. If we can manage to create the platforms correctly, they will not just severely disrupt value chains but also be greener than before.

Also of note was the discussion around uncaptured GDP and the era of abundance: two notions which fundamentally challenge the classical economic models I grew up with, and that neatly complete the (much better covered) field of externalities. After all, it is not just that our national accounts fail to capture the costs of polluted air and depleted natural stocks, but also, they fail to include much of the “value” generated in (especially through) services according to the research presented.

In any case thanks to all contributors and participants for a fascinating time, and great to hear the inputs of Europeans, US Americans, Canadians, South Americans and Asians in such an intimate format! Also thanks to Brenda Fox, Leena Ilmola and John Casti for organising the whole thing in Vienna.