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Facing the future: Sense-making in Horizon Scanning


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Facing the future: Sense-making in Horizon Scanning

  1. 1. The 4th International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) 12 & 13 May 2011 Facing the Future: Scanning, Synthesizing and Sense-Making in Horizon Scanning Totti Könnölä 1 , Ahti Salo 2 , Cristiano Cagnin 3 , Vicente Carabias 3 , and Eeva Vilkkumaa 2 1 Impetu Solutions, Madrid (Spain) 2 Aalto University School of Science and Technology, Espoo (Finland) 3 JRC-IPTS, Seville (Spain)
  2. 2. Facing the Future Outline Introduction <ul><li>Scoping the Scanning Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Sense-making: Inseparable from Scanning </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholders: Crucial for Scanning and Synthesizing </li></ul><ul><li>Building Ground for Cross-Cutting Policy Coordination </li></ul>Sense-making in Horizon Scanning <ul><li>Identification of Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Synthesizing Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecions on the Exercise </li></ul>Case: Facing the Future Discussion Conclusions
  3. 3. Facing the Future Introduction Key Questions in Horizon Scanning Activities <ul><li>How to facilitate the recognition of signals? </li></ul><ul><li>How to facilitate the elaboration of corresponding policy issues? </li></ul><ul><li>How to synthesize such signals and issues into meaningful theme clusters? </li></ul><ul><li>How to facilitate collective sense-making in the analysis of theme clusters? </li></ul><ul><li>How to recognize the big picture of societal change? </li></ul><ul><li>How to develop respective policy recommendations? </li></ul>Horizon Scanning … <ul><li>… is regarded here as a creative process of collective sense-making by way of collecting and synthesizing observations that hold potential for the formulation of pertinent future developments and the derivation of actionable implications on decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Sense-making builds on the actor’s ability to perceive, interpret and construct meaning of the emerging landscape </li></ul>
  4. 4. Facing the Future Sense-making in Horizon Scanning Sense-making: Inseparable from Scanning <ul><li>drivers of change, emerging issues, trends, weak signals, wild cards/shocks </li></ul><ul><li>presence of scattered or no historical evidence </li></ul><ul><li>defining units of analysis that facilitate the collection of individual observations and, moreover, the creative combination thereof to permit the creation of new entities and meanings </li></ul><ul><li>It appears that whatever the methodological basis of scanning is, sense-making lies at the heart of providing well-founded support for policy making. </li></ul>Scoping the Scanning Exercise <ul><li>by deciding on what signals are likely to appear relevant, i.e. worth scanning </li></ul><ul><li>across a comprehensive spectrum or </li></ul><ul><li>focused on specific fields such as energy, health and cognitive enhancement </li></ul>
  5. 5. Facing the Future Sense-making in Horizon Scanning Building Ground for Cross-Cutting Policy Coordination <ul><li>participatory workshop activities offer policy makers an inspiring environment </li></ul><ul><li>exposing them to the diversity of issues at stake, synthesized into meaningful clusters that exhibit logical structure and link to existing decision-making structures to foster sense-making </li></ul><ul><li>collaborative development of cross-cutting challenges may help reframe the Bigger Picture whose exploration paves way for policy coordination and the attainment of systemic policy objectives </li></ul>Stakeholders: Crucial for Scanning and Synthesizing <ul><li>horizon scanning should seek to engage diverse stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>diversity criteria: coverage of different fields of expertise, types of affiliations, cultural backgrounds, organizational functions or personal values </li></ul><ul><li>resulting in a richer set of initial, significant observations to be synthesized through shared development of cross-cutting challenges </li></ul>
  6. 6. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010)
  7. 7. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Assessment of 381 issues on a seven-point Likert-scale <ul><li>Relevance to EU policy making </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty in comparison with earlier policy deabates </li></ul><ul><li>Probability of occurrence by 2025 </li></ul>Identification of 381 Issues in 6 areas <ul><li>(i) 73 demography, migration and health issues </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) 44 economy, trade and financial flows issues </li></ul><ul><li>(iii) 90 environment, energy, climate change and agriculture issues </li></ul><ul><li>(iv) 80 research, innovation and (e)-education issues </li></ul><ul><li>(v) 52 (e)-governance and (e)-social cohesion issues </li></ul><ul><li>(vi) 42 defence and security issues </li></ul><ul><li>… analysing in each area 25 forward-looking reports and policy documents ( recently published by international organisations or business sector, covering more than one of six areas being analysed, exhibiting global scope , and using a participatory approach ) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Analysis of Issues <ul><li>Expert assessments were synthesized with Robust Portfolio Modelling (RPM). </li></ul><ul><li>Mean-oriented analysis helped identify issues that were considered relevant, novel and probable by the majority respondents </li></ul><ul><li>Variance-oriented analysis was conducted in order to recognize issues on which the respondents had different viewpoints </li></ul><ul><li>Rare event-oriented analysis was carried out to identify those issues that the respondents considered improbable but still novel and relevant </li></ul><ul><li>The three complementary RPM analyses helped highlight issues which were seen to merit attention from different perspectives and thus paved way for the formulation of cross-cutting challenges. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Analysis of Issues Mean-oriented analysis Relevance > Novelty > Probability (means) Variance-oriented analysis Novelty > Relevance > Probability (variance) Rare event oriented analysis Inverse probability > Novelty > Relevance (means) <ul><ul><li>100% issues score best independent of the used criteria preferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50% issues that score well, but are sensitive to criteria preferences </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Synthesizing Issues Experts and policy-makers grouped in a workshop the identified issues into cross-cutting challenges and examined their policy implications for the EU. Table 2 Example of a cross-cutting challenge consisting of issues from all three analyses and from different thematic areas (Demography, Environment, and Defence & Security); font styles of issue codes refer to the results obtained in the different RPM analyses ( http:// , visited 01/04/2011) . Pervasive sensors for real-time surveillance widely diffused DS81 6 A major war by 2020 DS15 6 Attacks on infrastructure facilities DS13 6 Global decline in biodiversity and loss of ecosystems services ENV70 3 Global decline of freshwater availability leading to an increase in water scarcity ENV68 3 Global under-pricing and overconsumption of water ENV03 3 Massive migration due to climate change DI04 1 Key words from the issue description (optional) Issue code Area No. Save natural resources (water, food) to prevent conflicts over their scarcity and other impacts such as migration
  11. 11. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Synthesizing Issues <ul><li>Participants generated collectively a diverse set of 22 cross-cutting challenges , which were then prioritized by discussing in the light of three solution-oriented criteria related to their importance at the EU level : </li></ul><ul><li>- Urgency: Is the challenge likely to provoke impacts that require urgent actions at EU level? </li></ul><ul><li>- Tractability : Can solutions to the challenge be identified and implemented? Does the EU have the institutional capacity to act upon this challenge? </li></ul><ul><li>Impact : Are the actions to be taken by the EU expected to have a major global positive impact? </li></ul><ul><li>By the end of the workshop, a workable agreement had been reached on the definition of the following three overarching challenges: </li></ul><ul><li>(i) The need to change current ways in which essential natural resources are used. </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) The need to anticipate and adapt to societal changes. </li></ul><ul><li>(iii) The need for more effective and transparent governance for the EU and the world. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Synthesizing Issues These challenges also served as a basis for the three broad recommendations which, according to the workshop participants, had so far not received sufficient attention in policy and decision processes (Boden et al., 2010): (i) the need to change uses of essential natural resources by aligning all policy realms towards sustainability, extending from policy design through implementation to evaluation ; (ii) the need to anticipate and adapt to societal challenges by building on social diversity and ICTs to enable citizens' empowerment ; (iii) the need for more effective and transparent governance that allows institutions to anticipate future challenges and to turn these into opportunities by embedding FTA in their decision making processes Reflections on the Exercise <ul><li>collective sense-making process where emerging issues were first identified and then synthesized into challenges to be dealt with at EU level </li></ul><ul><li>traceability of cross-cutting challenges and recommendations was supported by the appropriate coding of issues and challenges </li></ul>
  13. 13. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Policy recommendations <ul><li>(i) Policy alignment towards sustainability - the need to align all relevant policy domains to achieve: </li></ul><ul><li>Reform in the agri-system </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction in the EU's dependency on resources </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in levels of education and social awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate and effective management of migration flows resulting from climate change, the aspiration to a better quality of life, and labour market needs of especially ageing societies </li></ul><ul><li>Change in the policy paradigm based on GDP to an updated system which also considers ecological flows and stocks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Policy recommendations <ul><li>(ii) Social diversity and ICTs for citizen empowerment - the need to: </li></ul><ul><li>Build new incentives to facilitate and strengthen relationships between different social systems </li></ul><ul><li>Develop the necessary means to enhance education on the use of ICTs in conjunction with other technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the quality of education by, among others, fostering competition within and between EU national education systems </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate the healthcare system, tapping into new technologies to allow equal access for all </li></ul><ul><li>Develop radically new and far more efficient forms of social protection </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance regional specialisation through the formation of regional RTDI clusters </li></ul>
  15. 15. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Policy recommendations <ul><li>(iii) Anticipation of future challenges to turn these into new opportunities - the need to: </li></ul><ul><li>Embed forward looking techniques in EU policy making </li></ul><ul><li>Foster mutual understanding through ongoing/inclusive dialogue both within the EU and worldwide to build shared values, common visions, actions, and smart regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Enable effective and adaptive international organisations to become a reality </li></ul><ul><li>Establish partnerships between industry-government-society </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify the role and status of the EU in global fora and balance its representation in international organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Foster (e)participation and (e)democracy through the use of web 2.0 and advanced technologies </li></ul>
  16. 16. Facing the Future Case: Facing the Future (Boden et al., 2010) Reflections on the Exercise <ul><li>recommendations have been used in discussions within the European Commission, the final report has been referenced in the Communication on the Innovation Union… </li></ul>
  17. 17. Facing the Future Discussion Horizon Scanning … <ul><li>is inherently a bottom-up process where results from individual sense-making activities are followed by collective processes where the scanners take stock of and learn from each others’ signals </li></ul><ul><li>activities contribute to the design of systemic policies which – far from being monolithic and inflexible – contribute to the attainment of systemic policy objectives by supporting the timely recognition of the interconnectedness of actions </li></ul>A distinctive and defining feature of horizon scanning is that there are no strong a priori constraints on what signals could count as relevant.
  18. 18. Facing the Future Conclusions We have illustrated that horizon scanning activities need not be limited to the collection of future-oriented observations ; rather, the scope of these activities can be extended to include creative and collective sense-making processes for synthesizing observations into cross-cutting challenges and also for exploring the policy implications of these challenges in collaborative workshops . It appears the methodological approach in this exercise – which had well-defined phases for the systematic ‘bottom-up’ scanning of issues and for the prioritization and clustering thereof – is viable even in other contexts where there is a need to build shared understandings about the prospects of cross-cutting coordination in support of systemic policy objectives .
  19. 19. Facing the Future Thank you for your attention! Facing the future: time for the EU to meet global challenges Totti Könnölä : [email_address] Vicente Carabias : [email_address]