At the International Studies Association 2014 annual conference in Toronto I organised a Roundtable entitled ‘Bridging the Gap: The Art and Practice of Strategic Foresight in International Relations’. About 45 of us discussed the role of Strategic Foresight in International Relations. We had a great mix of practitioners and academics, including, Antti Kaski, Rob Del, Jairus Grove, Andrew Dorman, Deborah Larson, Kari Möttölä, Josef Teboho Ansorge, Philippe Dufort, Peter Feavor, and Aubrey Yee. There was also a super rich contribution from participants on the day, and the approximately 50 respondees from the survey on strategic foresight in IR I carried out in the weeks leading up to the Roundtable.
Some thoughts that particularly stood out for me from this rich discussion:
•Definitional issues still need to be carefully negotiated when discussing Strategic Foresight. There was some agreement around a two sentence definition of Strategic Foresight, but differences were clear around the purpose of and approach to the field (incremental/predictive versus long-term/alternatives). Scoping this out and formalising a common language that can embrace both but avoids crossed wires would be helpful.
•We had mainly policy-makers and practitioners and some academics in the room. Some big IR academic theorists were mentioned: Jervis, Ikenberry, Slaughter, Inayatullah, Gravo, Finger, Ward, Deudney. Could they be brought into the conversation?