‘Strategic foresight’ building ‘strategic preparedness’ for a rapidly evolving world

Navigating the Future

In a rapidly evolving world driven by innovation, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future advancements is crucial. ‘Technological foresight’ has become paramount for policymakers as they navigate the path ahead, serving as a compass to evaluate the potential societal impacts of complex scientific and technological developments. It also aids decision-makers in gaining a more strategic understanding of the issues they must address.

‘Foresight thinking’ can be viewed as an effective strategy for mitigating unexpected surprises, particularly negative ones. In this lecture, Dr. Van Woensel shares her extensive 30-year experience at the science-policy interface and introduces the fundamental principles of technology foresight. Her focus lies on equipping individuals to be prepared for potential future advancements in the fields of science and technology.

Throughout the lecture, Dr. Van Woensel guides the audience through four primary foundations of foresight thinking, which she considers essential for strategic management, policy preparation, and emergency readiness. To delve deeper into these four essential thinking habits, Dr. Van Woensel explores a range of cases encompassing technology, security, and geopolitical issues. She references global risks and poly-crises to illustrate the practical application of these habits.

The lecture is followed by a Q&A chaired by Dr. Valentina Amuso (University College London).

About the speaker

Lieve Van Woensel is the former Head of the Scientific Foresight Service at the European Parliamentary Research Service. She is an expert in foresight methodologies and authored a book on biases in the policy advising process, A Bias Radar for Responsible Policy-MakingForesight-Based Scientific Advice. Lieve also prepared a manual with guidelines for foresight-based policy analysis, which serves as a handbook for training on foresight within the European Parliament and other EU institutions.

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