No one knows the future – but foresight studies use a structured approach to examine the relationships among the actors in a system, key assumptions, uncertainties, those factors driving change, and expected and unexpected outcomes which allow us to identify a range of "plausible futures" Such studies, when conducted by governments, allow policy-makers to reflect on how the environment is changing and what additional information and planning may be required to ensure resilience.
Through extensive consultation and engagement with private and public sector social media experts, Horizons conducted a foresight scenario exercise to consider these plausible futures for these technologies and potential implications for Canada. This report outlines this process and findings.
The Social Media Foresight Team at Policy Horizons Canada was directed by Jean Kunz and the team was composed of: Imran Arshad, Steffen Christensen, Nicola Gaye, Andrew MacDonald, Marissa Martin, and Jean-Philippe Veilleux. This foresight study has benefitted from the contributions of many individuals to whom we are most grateful (see Appendix 1). Interviews with a range of experts were held in order to gather insights on the future of social media technologies. An advisory committee of 18 public servants was also established. In April 2011, this group participated in a series of foresight workshops facilitated by Policy Horizons Canada. The results of these workshops and interviews are reflected in the findings of this study.