Committee for the Future – Finnish Parliament

15 Jun

How Does the Aim of Sustainable Development Challenge Foresight and Other Work on the Future?

Cat recently visited Finland and was invited to speak by the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development. The purpose of this session was to discuss various models for enhancing synergies between sustainable development goals and foresight and other work on the future.

Cat presented Sustainable Development, SDGs and engaging with the Future in her capacity as co-founder of The School of International Futures. Within the presentation, Cat explored the link between Sustainable Development and Strategic Foresight, encompassing how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework is a ‘huge global strategic foresight exercise which is transformational yet expensive. Continuing to expand on the transformational effects of the SDGs, the goals have now changed what we need from the foresight field. There is now international process modelling new behaviour and new participative, longer-term and flexible way of policy-making which now, having been incentivised by the SDGs, incorporates adaptive systems, design and emergence. Below Cat outlines the six principles for future thinking surrounding the SDGs.

Principles for ‘Foresighters for SDGs’

  • Foresight must be open and participative
  • Integral to conversations about the future of government
  • Strategic foresight must evolve to be effective in different environments and places, develop new methods, focus, issues, institutions
  • There is a growth of interest – let’s respond with results
  • Widen the field: embrace allies, communities, frames
  • Embrace emergence and the nature of complexity – anticipate, build resilience, rapid feedback

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