Towards Anticipatory Leadership

Learning to Use the Future More Effectively

The borders of the mind, dividing economic from social phenomena or one country from another, exist as lived experience. In the present, right now, crossing these borders can be sources of joy, of bloodshed, of understanding. The future is different – future experiences have not yet happened and so borders in the future are easily redrawn, forgotten or even invented. This means that anticipation, the way humans imagine the future, is a powerful tool for seeing today’s borders in different ways – ways that could be more sustainable, equitable and peaceful.

This is why UNESCO, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and DG Joint Research Center of the European Commission, undertook the following project: “Evaluating and Improving the Use of the Future for Identifying and Choosing Dynamic Opportunities”.

The Project conducted action-research, drawing on real-world case-studies of using the future to test the effectiveness of foresight practices and tools deployed by three global scale institutions. The insights cover a range of critical topics from design issues to strategic choices regarding the ways concepts of the future and forward-looking approaches are used in decision making.

Ispra KnowLab

A collective intelligence knowledge laboratory (KnowLab) was held in Ispra, Italy from 26 to 28 August 2014, with 41 participants from around the world. They came together to evaluate the role and effectiveness of futures thinking in the processes used to identify opportunities for improving the human condition. The KnowLab served as an opportunity to the participants and the organizations involved to reflect on the ways the future and foresight methods and tools are currently used, fostering a self awareness and a constructive reflection/criticism.

The Reflective Report of the event summarises the KnowLab’s actionable insights on the effective use of future.

See also: Evaluating and Improving the Use of the Future – Narrative Report

Back to top