Project's Activities - Futures Workshops - Making Futures Work

Making Futures Work- Cardiff, Wales, 7 February 2007

The Wales Futures Network has been launched during the event.

Download: 1. Broshure, 2. Abstracts & Speakers Biographies


JOSEPHINE GREEN, Director of Trends & Strategy, Philips Design

“In the past the future was more elitist. It was primarily a top down concern and, from a company perspective, was driven through technology, economics and expertise. However, the meta-themes of sustainability, social innovation and mass creativity are transforming how we think about the future. My talk will explore the change from technology led to market led to socially led business and offer some thoughts around the democratisation of the future.”

JUHA KASKINEN, Director, Finland Futures Research Centre

“Finland was not a pioneer in establishing futures research and foresight some 50 years ago but during the last fifteen years it has been one of the most active countries in applying futures in various sectors and levels of society, government and administration. Finnish futures work started in 1970’s. First, it was an activity of few private persons and scholars but soon gained support in governmental organisations. The Finnish Society for Futures studies was established in 1980 on the recommendation of the government's Central Board of Research Councils. Fourteen Finnish institutions of higher education were the founding members, and 14 additional institutions and over 800 individuals have since joined the society. According to the Society approximately 40 doctoral theses on futures have been submitted since 1980 in Finnish universities.

Finland Futures Research Centre started its work in 1992 as part of Turku School of Economics. It has grown from a small research group of three people to a research, development and education institute of 45 people - one indicator of the great interest in futures in Finland over the15 years. The Finnish Parliament appointed a Committee for the Future on a temporary basis in the year 1993 for the purpose of evaluating and replying to the Government's decisions. This functioned on a temporary basis until the year 2000. In conjunction with a constitutional revision, the Parliament of Finland decided to grant the Committee for the Future a permanent status, starting from the beginning of March 2000. Several organisations practice futures nowadays – government ministries, Finnish Road Administration, The Association of Local and Regional Authorities, The Finnish National Fund for Research and Development (Sitra), Employment and Economic Development Centres, Regional Councils, municipalities as well as private consultants.

Companies apply Foresight and futures research methods in strategic planning. It can be stated that Futures has penetrated to the Finnish society. The future of futures seems quite promising because of the quite significant societal support it has nowadays. The rapid speed of change and several challenges out world is facing will underline the need of futures thinking even more.”

RIEL MILLER, XperidoX: Futures Consulting

“Today decisions at every level of a society matter. Decisions are what determine the quality of life in our communities. Decisions are the tangible reflection of what people know. Decisions are how we initiate and respond to the freedom, ambiguity, diversity and responsibilities of the world. It is the challenge of permanent decision making that is at the core of the Learning Intensive Society and Futures Literacy that makes this challenge practical. To make the right decisions today Futures Literacy is essential. Just like reading, writing and arithmetic were the corner stones of factory era literacy, futures literacy is the key to the Learning Intensive Society.”

MARTIN RHISIART, Deputy Director, Observatory of Innovation, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University

The presentation will provide a rapid review of the futures field, including its origins, the rationale for a futures approach and the way it has been used by a variety of organisations to meet different objectives. Futures can be described as process in which organisations and individuals seek to make sense of a world of complexity and ambiguity. Within this context, the Wales Futures Network is a mechanism for exploring themes from a futures approach, exchanging knowledge - derived from various disciplines and viewpoints – and developing futures literacy in Wales.

JAMIE SAUNDERS, Co-ordinator Governance & Sustainability, Bradford City Council

“This short session will explore the landscapes and timescapes of Wales, its people and places as a setting for thinking and acting on local futures. Stewart Brand said that 'future considerations should dwarf the present' and this is the basis of a discussion on the practice, potential and prospects for local futures in a turbulent world. Taking a cue from Stewart Brand's "The Clock of the Long Now" and the pressures of the 'Big Here', this action learning session would seek to engage participants in addressing the Local 'Long Now' and its potential for the settlements, organisations and people of Wales. Local people and places are all moving into the future and leaving legacies for future generations. They are also facing significant challenges and opportunities in these early decades of the 21st Century. Local Government has a civic duty to consider, plan for and act in the interests of future generations and for contributing to sustainable development through strategic 'community planning'.

This community leadership, engaged with public agencies, businesses, voluntary and community organisations and citizens, is expected to be mindful of 10-15 year time horizons at the very least. Local Government is being expected to enable a widespread public engagement in the 'shared future' ahead. Localities can therefore be seen to be challenged to consider timescapes spanning decades and possibly centuries and to explore the possibilities, probabilities, preferences and political choices that face communities in the age of the 'risk society' (Beck, 02006). Such 'future-proofing' can be seen as at the very heart of the creation of sustainable lifestyles and settlements. Political, administrative, community and other decision making are supposed to act as if 'the future matters'. This session from a practitioner perspective seeks to provide information, experiences and questions for a productive and provocative session.”

DR JENNIFER CASSINGENA HARPER, Director of Policy, Malta Council for Science and Technology

“There are a number of exciting trends in foresight reflected in the emergence of new rationales for foresight activity, including open and social innovation and knowledge failures and the drive towards system adaptation or disruption. This is necessitating and goes hand in hand with the development of hybrid approaches, allowing an innovative combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, social and policy concerns and adaptive foresight. From ongoing projects and studies, key foresight themes and systemic rationales are identified, together with the drive towards multi-level activity and a set of more 'popular' tools. The key messages are that foresight is currently in a phase of transition into a more embedded policy-making activity and targeting increased societal dialogue and democratisation. Creativity and innovation are key ingredients in successful foresight activity and a focus on empowering the actors through mutual learning. The paper concludes with some thoughts on the evaluation and impacts of foresight activity as a critical area for further work and draws on insights from a range and mix of EU funded projects and studies that the author has been in engaged in over the last four years. These include: eFORESEE, the ERANET Forsociety, FFRAF2025, EU Key Technologies, SCOPE 2015, EFMN, FUTURREG, FORLEARN and the Seville FTA Conferences.”

Professor JIM POOLE, Policy Adviser

“Mankind currently faces unprecedented challenges – climate change, the depletion of natural resources and the growing gap between rich and poor. These long-term issues must be addressed in ways that are socially acceptable today. Jim will discuss what this means for Wales, and the sort of Sustainable Wales that might arise.”