Foresight Training Manual: Module 1 - Introduction to Foresight

Authors: Policy Horizons Canada
Document Type: Other
Published Date: Friday, July 1, 2016 - 12:15pm
ISBN number: PH4-164/1-2016E-PDF, 978-0-660-05847-4
Alternative Format: 2016-271-overview-eng.pdf

 

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Alternative Format - what_is_foresight_eng.wmv

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(Text on screen: WHAT IS FORESIGHT?)

 

The practice of looking forward into the future is something we all do naturally.

(An adult walks along a path worn into a grassy field, watching the sunrise on the horizon)

 

When we imagine possible futures, explore options, weigh pros and cons, and design plans, we're using foresight.

(Three adults consult a city map and discuss possible directions to take, pointing left, right and straight ahead)

 

When we run "mental movies" to explore possible strategies and goals, we're also using foresight.

(A fast-draw shot in which a hand draws the outline of a human head. Inside the head is a movie projector)

 

Increasingly, organizations and governments are using foresight to think creatively and systematically about the future.

(A montage of: flags of the world flapping in the wind outside the United Nations building, pan of Parliament Hill in Ottawa)

 

Foresight enables us to make better plans and reduce surprises.

(A close up shot of designers reviewing a blueprint)

 

It helps inform policy decisions, design public services, and shape strategies.

(A shot of a large boardroom with workshop participants seated around a large table listening to a workshop leader speak)

 

Strategic foresight is a practice that uses evidence, creativity, expertise and participation.

(Two people discuss and amend a diagram on an easel)

 

(Text on screen: Strategic foresight)

 

Strategic foresight allows us to understand, plan for, and influence future events and situations.

(In a university classroom setting, several students participate in a role-playing exercise)

 

Foresight isn’t about predicting the future. Rather it helps us to see what may happen – and to understand the range of plausible futures that we may confront.

(A shot of a chart forecasting oil prices, slowly zooming to an illustration depicting silhouettes of people walking along a path that forks into multiple directions)

 

Foresight is interdisciplinary, blending futures studies, systems dynamics, the physical and social sciences, participatory design, and strategic management.

(As the narrator lists the disciplines, titles appears on the screen)

 

(Text on screen: Futures studies, System dynamics, Physical and social sciences, Participatory design,Strategic management)

 

It is supported by professional communities of practice and by academic scholarship. It is deliberate, imaginative and rigorous.

(A shot of a discussion in a university classroom; two people stand in front of a series of charts and diagrams on an office wall, one person is explaining the diagrams)

 

(Direction: Greg Van Alstyne, Zan Chandler)

 

(Writing: Zan Chandler, Greg Van Alstyne, Peter Padbury, Steffen Christensen, Judy Watling)

 

(Visual design: Greg Van Alstyne, Jazeen Hollings, Alex Appugliesi, Zan Chandler, Naomi Kühn)

 

(Editing: Jazeen Hollings)

 

(Narration: Zan Chandler)

 

(Video sources: Policy Horizons Canada / Louis-Philippe Gascon, OCAD University / G. Van Alstyne, J. Hollings, A. Appugliesi, NASA Johnson Space Center / Crew Earth Observations Video, NASA Earth Observatory / NOAA NGDC, Ryan Lake Illustration / ryanlake.com, Various videographers / pond5.com, JayMiller / videezy.com, Lynch, M.C, 2002, Forecasting oil supply: theory and practice, The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance 42, 374.)

 

(Video sources: youtube.com (cc): Alex Hoffman, anno112658, caoz96, DARPAtv, darwinfish105, Dexter Ico, dustbagsrevenge, Ekso Bionics, Elijah Meeks, InsideScience, Mike Moceri, MrBugpod, NaughtyMissTee, PlayPauseAndRewind, The NRAO, Russia Today)

 

(Our thanks to The foresight teams at Policy Horizons Canada, OCAD University)

 

(Created for Policy Horizons Canada by sLab, OCAD University with ZancomMedia)

 

(sLab logo, OCAD University logo, Horizons Canada logos, Canada Wordmark)

 

(Policy Horizons Canada brand, Contact us at www.horizons.gc.ca)

 

 

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Alternative Format - why_use_foresight_eng.wmv

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(Text on screen: WHY USE FORESIGHT?)

 

While everyone has the capacity to think about the future, we also have limitations and biases.

(A computer generated animation of the earth revolving and then flattening out into a two dimensional map of the world.)

 

(Text on screen: Limitations and biases)

 

We're more likely to respond to immediate threats than to things evolving over time.

(A computer animation showing a close up of a burning fuse, which then zooms back to reveal a globe of the earth as the fuse is about to explode)

 

Our views of the future are strongly shaped and influenced by our present situation. We're more open to evidence reinforcing our beliefs than anything contradicting them -- which we view with much skepticism

(A fast-draw of a hand drawing the outline of an elephant and several blind men located at the elephant's trunk, ear, hind leg, and tail. Each blind man has a thought bubble. The though bubble for the man at the trunk shows a large snake. The thought bubble for the man at the ear shows a leaf. The thought bubble for the man at the hind leg shows a large tree with a thick trunk. The thought bubble for the man at the tail shows a rope.)

 

(Text on screen: Beliefs)

 

To understand our world, we rely on deep, expert knowledge.

(A shot of a scientist in his laboratory examining vials.)

 

But our world today is very different from that of our grandparents.

(Video images of microscopic cells, DNA double helix)

 

The challenges we face today are large, complex, and continually evolving. Our world is more interconnected. Modern societies and economies show increasing interdependence.

(A computer animation of the earth from space with specs of light showing different cities of the earth. Beams of light actively surround the earth, creating a complex web of connections.)

 

(Text on screen: Interdependence)

 

One constant in our world is that everything changes.

(Text on screen: Everything changes)

 

Some things change very quickly. Others take millennia.

(A time-lapse shot of a flower opening)

 

But we tend to forget that everything is in a state of flux.

(A computer generated animation depicting tectonic plates shifting over time)

p>Seduced by how stable things appear to be in the short term, we believe that the present state will continue into the future.

(Satellite imagery of polar ice sheet breaking up)

 

Change can be rapid. Unexpected disruptions can and do happen.

(A shot of a tsunami striking buildings and pushing in land)

 

Consider how much our world has changed over the last few decades. Now try to imagine what could change in the next twenty years.

(A montage of: hands holding and operating tablet computer, an unmanned drone landing, robots building a car frame in a factory, a revolving telescope array, MakerBot 3D printer printing an object, computer generated animation of cellular activity, 4-legged robot getting up, robotic legs walking, a paraplegic walking with the aid of an exoskeleton, skydiver jumping off a very high altitude platform)

 

In a climate of ceaseless change, making choices is fraught with uncertainty.

(A nighttime time lapse shot of a modern cityscape)

 

(Text on screen: Uncertainty)

 

Many problems are unique and arise from situations we've never seen before. Decisions get easier with practice, but many times there is no chance to practice.

(A shot of dice rolling on a backgammon game, a satellite image of a hurricane from space, close up on a car's side view mirror)

 

Some problems are so complex they puzzle even experts.

(Montage of: construction detour signs, clusters of mathematic equations)

 

When signs of success or failure may take years to surface, when costs must be paid now for benefits that come later, uncertainty rises further still.

(A family watering a newly planted tree, a cash counting machine in action, an out of focus car lights on the road at night)

 

Foresight helps people share, explore and test their mental models about how the world is changing -- and what this might mean for society.

(Text on screen: Mental models)

 

(A person discusses and points to a concept map)

 

Consider some of today's great challenges:

(Text on screen: Challenges:)

 

Volatile economies

(Close up on the digital tickertape displaying stock prices)

 

Political unrest

(News footage of protests in the streets)

 

Climate change

(An animation of changing temperatures across the globe)

 

Pressure on natural resources

(A shot of a parched and cracked riverbed)

 

Poverty and hunger.

(People in famine conditions)

 

Our responses to these are built on assumptions – assumptions about continuity, interrelationships, cause and effect. Foresight helps reveal our assumptions and question whether or not they will be valid in the future.

(A shot of cars passing by on a typical city street, dominoes falling, a slow motion shot of a water droplet hitting a still body of water, with ripples flowing outward)

 

Foresight helps us understand how the issue or system that we are studying may evolve and the challenges that may emerge.

(An animated data visualization of a network transforming)

 

When dealing with rapid change, foresight helps us build in early warning, that we may "buy time."

(A radar screen showing a radar sweep revealing new blips on the screen, a person scanning horizon with binoculars)

 

(Text on screen: Early warning)

 

Foresight helps us build a broader and deeper forward view so that we are better able to anticipate opportunities and surprises.

(A time lapse shot of two people playing chess on a gigantic ground level chessboard)

 

(Text on screen: Opportunities and surprises)

 

(Text on screen:)

 

(Direction: Greg Van Alstyne, Zan Chandler)

 

(Writing: Zan Chandler, Greg Van Alstyne, Peter Padbury, Steffen Christensen, Judy Watling)

 

(Visual design: Greg Van Alstyne, Jazeen Hollings, Alex Appugliesi, Zan Chandler, Naomi Ku¨hn)

 

(Editing: Jazeen Hollings)

 

(Narration: Zan Chandler)

 

(Video sources: Policy Horizons Canada / Louis-Philippe Gascon, OCAD University / G. Van Alstyne, J. Hollings, A. Appugliesi, NASA Johnson Space Center / Crew Earth Observations Video, NASA Earth Observatory / NOAA NGDC, Ryan Lake Illustration / ryanlake.com, Various videographers / pond5.com, JayMiller / videezy.com, Lynch, M.C, 2002, Forecasting oil supply: theory and practice, The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance 42, 374.)

 

(Video sources: youtube.com (cc): Alex Hoffman, anno112658, caoz96, DARPAtv, darwinfish105, Dexter Ico, dustbagsrevenge, Ekso Bionics, Elijah Meeks, InsideScience, Mike Moceri, MrBugpod, NaughtyMissTee, PlayPauseAndRewind, The NRAO, Russia Today)

 

(Our thanks to The foresight teams at Policy Horizons Canada, OCAD University)

 

(Created for Policy Horizons Canada by sLab, OCAD University with ZancomMedia)

 

(sLab logo, OCAD University logo, Horizons Canada logos, Canada Wordmark)

 

(Policy Horizons Canada brand, Contact us at www.horizons.gc.ca)

 

2018-09-12