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Thinking about the future differently - new report in partnership with the RSA

Monday 26 October 2020

Today A stitch in time? Realising the value of futures and foresight is published by the RSA. This is a wide-ranging exploration of foresight and futures thinking that drew in leading thinkers from around the world. The report describes futures thinking as a people-driven, multi-disciplinary project. Technology has a role to play, but so do the arts and humanities. It recognises that futures thinking is an inherently creative discipline which asks fundamental questions about what it is to be human and is necessarily values- driven. Taking this perspective leads the authors of the report to argue for the importance of encouraging all of us to make the future a greater priority and embed long-term thinking into our everyday lives. 

Organisations should develop futures competencies by:

  • Broadening time horizons
  • Developing capabilities
  • Integrating with existing processes
  • Overcoming resistance
  • Evaluating and learning

Policymakers should develop a futures mindset by:

  • Working across disciplines
  • Drawing on a range of methods
  • Developing a futures literacy and fluency
  • Identifying power dynamics
  • Surfacing signals of systems change

Society should develop a futures culture by:

  • Making futures challenges salient
  • Recognising different perspectives
  • Engaging citizens in participatory practice
  • Challenging short-term incentives
  • Thinking like a system, acting like an entrepreneur

The report contains examples from around the world that bring these ideas to life as well as far-reaching and radical recommendations for policy and decision-makers and organisations across society.Together these recommendation might help facilitate and accelerate a transition towards a longer-term perspective.

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