European Journal of Futures Research
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2195-4194 - ISSN (Online) 2195-2248
Published by SpringerOpen [188 journals]
- Futuribles of learning 2030 - Delphi supports the reform of the core
curricula in Finland
Abstract: The Future of Learning 2030 Barometer was launched in 2009. It was ordered by the Finnish National Board of Education to support the reform of the core curricula and look beyond the contemporary interests. The aim of the Barometer is to acknowledge the futuribles of learning and take into consideration the possibilities and challenges that may affect the development of school, teaching and learning. The Barometer collects a diversity of arguments on the future so that the different perspectives and arguments can be balanced against each other. The Delphi method is used as a structured communication technique that takes advantage of new technologies and elements of social media. The aim is not a consensus but rather a multi-voiced view. The article describes the questions and meta-themes based on the analysis. It also describes how the Finnish National Board of Education has used the Barometer in the reforming of the core curricula.
- The future of business in Visegrad region
Abstract: The paper aims to advance Futures Research by outlining the context and development perspectives of business Foresight in Visegrad region (that is in: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary).
Authors apply their research to tackle present challenges associated with the limited awareness of Foresight and constrained access to Foresight training offer in the region, which leads to insufficient Futures Literacy competences among managers and thus stiffens the opportunity to take advantage of Foresight in business practice. The paper presents two perspectives of analyzing business futures. A macro perspective, which concerns possible development scenarios of Visegrad economies, and a micro perspective, which concerns possible development scenarios of individual companies from Visegrad region. The methodology for the macro analyses involves the discussion of the futures of business in Visegrad economies based on quantitative indicators related to trade balance, foreign direct investment and SMEs prevalence analysed over 2002 – 2014 period. Whereas, the results derived from the micro level analysis are based on the expert-based scenario building exercise executed by Visegrad entrepreneurs participating in a 2-day international Foresight workshop. The research portrays the results achieved so far in the FOR_V4 project: “Mobilising Corporate Foresight potential among V4 countries”, which aims to bring futures knowledge and techniques to managers, who are expected to become “Corporate foresight evangelists” in Visegrad region.
- Trust makes this organisation unique
Abstract: Modes of organising have an indirect relationship with the new key technologies as enablers of new forms of organisation. The effect is two-fold: first the emergent technologies bring more efficiency to traditional organising, while at the same time inspiring ideas about new ways to approach the everyday life of organisations. Secondly, the metaphors and models based on new technology are applied to building new forms of organisational interaction. In this article we argue that the metaphors that are currently beginning to affect organisations on a larger scale are derived from networked communication technology. Pentti Malaska, a Finnish Futures Researcher, based his theory of societal change on the idea that societal forms build upon one another as a succession of needs that remain unfulfilled by the previous stage of development. He presents the next stage as society of intangible needs, where the focus of human activities will move to interaction between people. We present the results of an investigation of two case studies: Finnish IT-consultancy firm Reaktor, and Buurtzorg, a Dutch home care organisation. They both have adopted networked practices that question the traditional command and control management structures, and replace them with self-organisation, social control, and trust. In our research we are focusing especially on how technology affects the way these organisations approach their employees and clients. These empirical findings are reflected against the theory of society of intangible needs for contextualising the results, and drawing out their potential implications for the organisations and working life in the coming decades.
- A participatory Foresight for National Research and Education Networks
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show some results from a Foresight study related to future trends about advanced technology services of National Research and Education Networks (NREN). The approach of this study was conducted by using Foresight methods, which means: a planning process in order to obtain the definition of the exercise scope, the establishment of relevant aspects for asking international experts about the aim of this Foresight study. These experts are directors of several NREN around the world. The main result concludes, among other things, that more network services are being built to provide dark fibber links to users, increasing the flexibility and agility in the delivery of new and better services. It is a trend that will continue and that should be encouraged. Also, collaborations with mobile service providers should be established to offer academically innovative solutions to users. Other results show that there is a potential, which opens the participation of non-university hospitals for remote care in the health sector. This is corroborated in the expert’s opinion to qualify for being of high importance for the connectivity of hospitals and clinics. The results of this study are useful for any NREN around the world, but especially they have been used as input for the Colombian NREN.
- Futuring European industry: assessing the ManuFuture road towards EU
Abstract: Industry is the backbone of the European economy—producing 80% of Europe’s exports, accounting for 80% of private Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI) expenditures, and providing more than 30 million jobs with additional 70 million in related sectors. Thus, the manufacturing sector plays a vital role in fostering economic growth and social welfare across Europe, and it has the potential to provide innovative solutions for the grand societal challenges. However, European Industry’s share of added value has substantially decreased during the last decades. Against this backdrop, the European ManuFuture platform was created in 2003 to provide visions, scenarios as well as RTDI strategies and roadmaps for the re-industrialization of Europe. This article recapitulates the successful Vision 2020 generation and implementation process of the ManuFuture community. Based on a systemic assessment of the multi-actor, multi-governance-level and multi-sector policy approach, success factors are elaborated as guiding principles and framework for the upcoming Vision 2030 process. With reference to currently discussed issues in the European Research and Innovation area such as digitising industry and circular economy, this article concludes with some options to pursue the “ManuFuture Road”.
- Foresighting organizational learning equilibrium in European universities
Abstract: This article presents a short journey into the realm of foresighting exploration and exploitation of knowledge. Universities aim to achieve a prolific balance between research, education and third mission activities. Presently, the rate of change (and especially exogenous change) have reached a level that has given researchers and managers alike reason to reflect upon and be concerned about whether this balance could or should be maintained in the future. The increase in levels of change will necessarily require a momentum of organizational learning within the university. This applies whether the aim is to maintain the balance or to shift the balance in a well-planned manner. In this article, we use a classical organizational learning model to envision and simulate how a primary driver (mutual learning) in the balance between exploration and exploitation of knowledge in universities may evolve over time. Using 2010 as baseline and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) as contextual development path, the simulation process highlights parameters of organizational performance and competitive advantages such as learning rates, turnover and environmental turbulence stepwise at year 2015, 2020, 2025 and 2030. Prototypical European universities are contrasted with hypothetical organizations exposed to even more vibrant environments.
- Twitter data analysis as contribution to strategic foresight-The case of
the EU Research Project “Foresight and Modelling for European Health
Policy and Regulations” (FRESHER)
Abstract: In this article the value of Twitter data analysis for a strategic foresight exercise is discussed. The article offers an overview of Twitter’s basic functionalities, previous Twitter research and related studies on using Twitter in foresight projects to date. Based on this knowledge the case of the EU research project “Foresight and Modelling for European Health Policy and Regulations“(FRESHER) is used to conduct a Twitter data analysis in three steps: an analysis of web-links to get insights into the content spread via Twitter, a social network analysis to define central actors in a Twitter debate, and a hashtag-analysis to find out which topics are discussed and to support the identification of drivers of noncommunicable diseases. The article shows the benefit a Twitter data analysis provides for the FRESHER project and reveals implications for future research in this field.
- Pedagogies of the futures: Shifting the educational paradigms
Abstract: Focusing on an educational paradigm rooted in critical pedagogy, the socratic method, futures studies, and peace education, this essay takes the position that classrooms of the future should be transformed into safe harbors where students are afforded the opportunity to explore, deconstruct and share knowledge of themselves, their experiences, and the world in which they live. Drawing upon experience as a professor of futures studies, peace studies, and international relations, the author argues that, regardless of the subject being taught, students should be active participants in a classroom environment where the professor guides understanding primarily as an individual contributor. The essay embodies Einstein’s assertion that “we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”, by arguing that in such ‘incubatorial’ classrooms, students and teachers strive, together, to evolve their mutual understanding of the world, which, as knowledge, forms a basis for their collective reality.
- Foresight as a key enabler of innovation in the economy. Introduction to
the topical collection
- Is the Delphi method valid for business ethics? A survey analysis
Abstract: Although Delphi has come a long way in the development of the method itself, or even in business organisation, it has not been used at all in business ethics. To fill this gap, we have reviewed the literature on the use of Delphi in business, and particularly in the field of business ethics; we have also evidenced the method’s lack of use in this field, but noted its potential contribution to this research stream. An online survey has been administered to scholars in business ethics that have previously participated in a Delphi survey. The scholars come from nine different countries, and the survey has been held between January 2015 and March-June 2016. The findings show that in the experts’ opinion Delphi is as rigorous, appropriate and useful as any other research method in the field of business ethics, such as focus group, interviews, surveys (online) and case analysis. The Delphi method is assessed anonymously and economically by a group of experts dispersed around the world. Moreover, applying the Delphi method in business ethics could enrich the consensus on limiting the fuzzy area in which ethical business decisions (ethical decision-making) are argued and determined. It is a way of facilitating the search for a solution to the ethical dilemmas delimiting a problem, which is a further advantage of the Delphi technique.
- Scenarios for crime and terrorist attacks using the internet of things
Abstract: The Internet of Things is a paradigm in which everyday items are connected to the internet and share information with other devices. This new paradigm is rapidly becoming a reality in the developed world, and while it holds an immensely positive potential, it also means that criminals and terrorists would be able to influence the physical world from the comfort of their homes. We can expect that hackers, ransomwares, viruses, spywares and many of the other woes of the internet today will migrate to the internet of things as well. In this research we used General Morphological Analysis and brought together fifty experts on an online platform to develop novel scenarios about the crimes and terrorist acts of the future. The experts developed 21 scenarios, which were then ranked according to their plausibility. We provide a brief description of every scenario, and focus particularly on the four most plausible ones: blackmailing by connecting to smart homes, gaining insider information from wearable devices and using it for financial gains, assaulting a smart city through the internet, and performing sex crimes via connected items in the smart home.
- Teaching with scenarios: a social innovation to foster learning and social
change in times of great uncertainty
Abstract: Learning strategies are social innovations of the past. To help us cope with problems in the past, they were developed, imitated, spread and codified into practices, rules and institutions. They lose their usefulness if the conditions of the present differ markedly from those of the past that gave rise to the then successful strategies. Our world is markedly different from the past. Thus, we need to introduce new learning strategies to be able to cope with the conditions of the present. And since one key characteristic of the present is a fast turbulence, we need to accelerate our rate of introduction of social innovations. We suggest scenarios as tool to do so.
- Ana’s tragedy – and Europe’s a contemplation over Romani, belonging
and the conditioned citizenship making in a Europe of migration
Abstract: This article deals with the notion of belonging in today’s multi-ethnic Sweden and hints at perpectives of future European identity-building. On the basis of Frantz Fanon’s understanding of colonialism and the colonized mentality as theoretical, the article deals with the situation of Roma in Sweden – and Europe. With the story of a young Roma woman that has migrated to Sweden from Hungary as point of departure, the article addresses the situation for Romani people, but also for other migrants in Europe, with particular focus on who are allowed to belong to the community of Swedish and European citizens, and who are not.
- Future creation in the strategising practice of a Hungarian company
Abstract: The core research question that is discussed in this paper is: “How is the future constructed in corporate strategy-making practice?” The answer is provided through the analysis of a single case study that was conducted in the context of a Hungarian children’s book publishing company. The results show that apart from consciously and deliberately applied future anticipation and/or foresight tools and techniques in strategising practices, other managerial activities may also lead to foresightful actions, specifically, everyday strategy-making practices, e.g., future-oriented product design, employee selection and cooperation with supply chain partners. In summary, moderate growth, risk management, trust and fair stakeholder management practices are the key factors that comprise an active future-creating strategy. With a few examples that are taken from the everyday life of the subject company, the paper describes these characteristics and examines their roles in shaping the corporate future in the strategising practices of the present.
- Innovation explosion catalysed by foresight-results of an experiment
Abstract: One of the major findings of the Greece-2021 Technology Foresight project concerns a multiple innovation blockage phenomenon, affecting strategic sectors of the national economy and society. To analyse and abate this predicament, the organisers of the end-of-project Conference put together a game-like experiment, asking students and other participants to think innovatively by answering the question “in how many ways can you peel an apple?”. The surprising results have verified the expectations from the test. The list of the more than 100 replies received is dominated by very innovative, especially mid-to-high-tech (50%), as well as unconventional, such as lateral thinking (10–20%) ones, whereas the low-to-mid tech responses (less than 1/3 of the total) appear to cover functional niches. The results are assessed with the help of a transpersonal psychology model distinguishing three levels of intelligence; foresight acts at all three levels, but with priority on the highest level, where cultural, ethical and other value-setting issues are determined.
- Functional technology foresight. A novel methodology to identify emerging
Abstract: The speed and complexity of the technology evolution faced by modern societies need new approaches to the analysis and understanding of the world. Indeed, an exclusive focus on technological goals can miss to recognize all the stakeholders of a technology and address real user needs; moreover, on the one hand low signals are becoming more and more important in fast evolving markets, on the other hand the excess of hype, fashions, or vested interests sometimes deeply alter indicators. However, the so called Big Data promise to be a huge low cost set of valuable information, available and affordable to all (SMEs included). But, analyzing them is not trivial especially if we deal with academic papers and patents. To tackle these issues, the present paper proposes to apply a powerful methodological tool called Functional Analysis to the Technology Foresight process. Actually the rigorous study of the functions, that an artefact should perform to satisfy the user needs, provides a universal and thus unifying point of view, which is able to correlate the user perspective on the product with its technical features. Functional reasoning has been applied to (i) detect possible patterns of development, spotting missing elements and highlighting strengths as well as potential sources of failure; (ii) to enhance traditional bibliometric tools such as the analysis of S-curves and (iii), integrated with a natural language processing analysis toolchain, tailored for patent documents, to identify emerging technologies. The paper describes the functional approach to technology foresight activity, presents how to integrate it with text mining algorithms and experts’ domain knowledge, and finally discusses its benefits in the context of Technology Foresight also from an economic point of view, showing that oresight is affordable also for Small and Medium Enterprises.
- Using strategic foresight methods to anticipate and prepare for the
Abstract: A fundamental shift in the future of work is underway, with significant implications for the number, location, and types of jobs. This shift is entangled in a wider set of longer-term transitions. The disruptive nature of this shift presents new policy challenges and carries implications for maintaining the social contract. This paper shares recent examples of global Foresight that have been developed by the OECD to help national governments to appreciate and prepare for this shift, both individually and via international cooperation. Despite the potential value of using Strategic Foresight methods, a scarcity of strategic conversation at the international level is a key constraint in preparing whole societies for this shift.
- Interactions between oceans and societies in 2030: challenges and issues
Abstract: The perception of ocean areas by policy-makers or by people, living or not on the coast, has significantly varied over centuries. Due to its vastness and complexity, the sea has been studied within distinct academic disciplines. However, the current issues related to the sea, such as climate change, marine pollution or coastal tourism, require an integrated vision of the assets and drawbacks in order to meet the challenges arising from human activities both at sea and onshore. In this study, a group of foresight officers from the French network of public research institutes decided to cross-check and compare several science approaches (biology, sociology, economics, etc) about oceans. Thus, 11 sectors of maritime activity (transportation, fisheries, energy, etc.) were cross-tabulated with 9 basic social functions (providing food, housing, learning, etc.). In this matrix, the main challenges and issues projected for 2030 were sought, in the frame of a baseline scenario. Results were clustered through 4 criteria, leading to 9 major challenges, each of them broken down into two important issues for research. The outcomes were used to create a survey, allowing the ranking of the research priorities. Most of the 9 challenges tally with the research and development objectives of great maritime states, except for governance and monitoring, which remain underscored. As a result, maritime powers still show more interest on securing national resources rather than on promoting international cooperation for secure trade and sustainable exploitation of marine resources. But foresight in this field could help changing the mentalities notably because oceans show clearly now to be a vital common good for mankind.
- Peer-to-peer work in the digital meaning society 2050
Abstract: The article discusses possible futures of self-organising peer-to-peer work through four transformative scenarios constructed in the Neo-Carbon Energy research project. These futures images probe the futures of work from the perspective of peer-to-peer organisations and distributed renewable energy production. The scenarios lay a systemic view on the development of societies, studying how decentralised renewable energy with low costs could affect society and its social relations. We anticipate the emergence of a digital meaning society, in which the economy is based on the production of meanings and meaningfulness. The article analyses the results of a futures workshop on the futures of work by classifying them to seven core themes. The results of the analysis are compared to related implications for policy-making, and to the Millennium Project Work/Technology Scenarios 2050 for international perspectives. The article presents possible disruptions and key emerging issues, including the novel drivers for inequalities of peer-to-peer work.
- The ambiguity of intelligent algorithms: job killer or supporting
Abstract: The history of industrialisation shows how new technologies triggered social and economic revolutions, and how traditional jobs were replaced or changed by the use of machines. There are signs of highly dynamic changes in the learning and working environment of the 21st century, with serious global social consequences similar to the industrial revolution. In the working environment, computers assist people and reduce their workload in a variety of ways. With increasing computing power and advanced memory technologies, they master the basics of autonomous machine learning. Intelligent algorithms are increasingly taking control, with the result that in many occupations, decisions are already routinely taken by software systems and not by people any more. Within just a few decades, information technology and its associated technological requirements have become the catalyst for a highly industrialised society. Developments in microelectronics are progressing at exponential speed, which will also have far-reaching social consequences for vocational fields outside of the information and communication technologies. Impacts of the knowledge and information society include changes in the nature of work towards an increasingly important service sector and a significant increase in knowledge work. This is accompanied by a decline in the working population (demographic change) and the need for a modified workplace design in context of the changed age structure of the workforce. This Paper intends to explore on basis of the findings from the most recent German Foresight Exercise (BMBF Foresight Cycle II), how technological innovations in the field of ICT will dramatically change structures and ways of communication, collaboration and work. Some alternative development paths and implications for the areas job, career, production and work are scrutinized and discussed. Possible developments depend on the degree of autonomy of computer systems and the extent to which humans lose control over these systems; while - of course - the boundaries between conceivable scenarios are fluid.