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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Clement Bezold, Claudia Juech and Evan S. Michelson

The purpose of this paper is to conclude the special issue on the topic of pro‐poor foresight.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conclude the special issue on the topic of pro‐poor foresight.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a draft synthesis statement and selected recommendations to emerge from the “Foresight for smart globalization” workshop.

Findings

There is a need for change at all levels of governance to address the challenges of global poverty, and efforts are needed to foster and improve national foresight capacities.

Originality/value

Adding poverty as an explicit dimension of existing and future foresight activities is a key component of fostering pro‐poor decision making.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

David Jhirad, Claudia Juech and Evan S. Michelson

The purpose of this paper is to present the concept of smart globalization and identify links with the Rockefeller Foundation's philanthropic activities in a number of areas

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the concept of smart globalization and identify links with the Rockefeller Foundation's philanthropic activities in a number of areas, including health, climate change, urbanization, economic insecurities, and basic survival needs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper addresses how a new conceptualization of globalization intersects with the field of foresight by describing the Rockefeller Foundation's approach to addressing complex issues of human development.

Findings

A forward looking research component is a valuable organizational structure that can add value by tracking and monitoring current and emerging trends relevant to the Foundation's strategic framework, operational initiatives, and areas of work.

Practical implications

The paper suggests a closer interaction of foresight and development experts and practitioners by suggesting that individuals in both disciplines need to work more closely together to coherently address the multitude, interlocking global challenges of the 21st century.

Originality/value

The paper introduces the notion of “smart globalization” to the foresight community and details how this mindset has influenced and directed the ongoing work of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Claudia Juech and Evan S. Michelson

The Rockefeller Foundation has developed the first‐of‐its‐kind trend monitoring effort in the philanthropic and broader social sector, conceptualizing and operationalizing an

Abstract

Purpose

The Rockefeller Foundation has developed the first‐of‐its‐kind trend monitoring effort in the philanthropic and broader social sector, conceptualizing and operationalizing an approach that surfaces cutting‐edge intelligence with a distinctly on‐the‐ground perspective from individuals and institutions living and working throughout the developing world, known as the Searchlight function. The Searchlight function consists of a network of forward‐looking, regionally focused horizon scanning and trend monitoring organizations that conduct regular, ongoing scanning for novel ideas, research results, and “clues” as to where the world is evolving. This article aims to focus on the Searchlight function and to introduce the Special Issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The article describes the goals and evolution of the Searchlight function, an important set of lessons learned, and an overview of the synthesis and visualization efforts that have been applied to the Searchlight outputs.

Findings

The insights demonstrate that multiple, complementary synthesis and visualization methods can be applied to pull together the findings from a diverse range of horizon scanning activities. These cover a broad spectrum of approaches, ranging from the qualitative to the quantitative, from automated to non‐automated, from local to global, and from top‐down to bottom‐up. They show how different audiences can be reached effectively, from engaging the interested lay public to producing materials for experts in the field.

Research limitations/implications

The articles outlined help to advance methodological thinking and provide benchmarks for horizon scanning, trend synthesis, and visualization that the foresight field can learn from and adopt over time.

Practical implications

Organizations across a range of sectors face the common challenge of how to monitor the current context in which they operate. While governments and businesses have developed novel ways of generating, processing, and acting on timely information that has long‐term relevance and significance, the development and philanthropic sectors have generally been slow to adopt these foresight practices. The Searchlight function is beginning to fill this gap in the social sector.

Social implications

The Searchlight function demonstrates how the practice of anticipating and tracking trends and envisioning different alternatives for how global issues might evolve can be harnessed to shape the future of human development and to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable populations. Creating such a global endeavor on this scale requires an iterative process linking together talented and committed individuals and institutions dedicated to a common goal.

Originality/value

The Searchlight function demonstrates one way that the philanthropic and broader social sector can take steps to think and act with the long‐term future more explicitly in mind by anticipating the most challenging problems and opportunities that might impact the lives of poor or vulnerable populations over the long‐term future. It shows how an organization can use trend monitoring and horizon scanning to better understand how the dynamic issues facing poor and vulnerable populations intertwine to create the complex realities of today and how they might fit together to illuminate the new realities of tomorrow.

Abstract

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Sucharita Gopal

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize trends, issues, and policies related to development using a database of Searchlight reports. The paper seeks to utilize three techniques

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize trends, issues, and policies related to development using a database of Searchlight reports. The paper seeks to utilize three techniques – conceptual tree visualizations to uncover patterns impacting regional development; network analysis to compare and contrast urbanization in South Asia and Southern Africa; and sentiment analysis to assess various sectors of development that elicit positive and negative reactions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a synthesis based on a unique database that was developed using a novel scoring scheme to quantify the development concepts presented in 312 Searchlight articles in a period between September 2009 and December 2010.

Findings

Primary and secondary concepts define an ontology that can be visualized to provide an overall synthesis of a subset of the Searchlight database. Social issues were significant in Asia, climate change narrative in Africa, and governance in Latin America. In terms of sentiments, negative sentiments tended to overshadow optimism. However, technology and knowledge was seen as a panacea along with social entrepreneurship in some regions of Asia. There is also a realization that newer issues related to climate change, resource and energy depletion, food insecurity and the current financial crisis will exacerbate present difficult conditions.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that qualitative data presented in various articles could be synthesized and visualized using data mining techniques. This methodology provides a comprehensive way to capture knowledge and insights provided by development experts to coherently share and discuss the multitude of common global challenges of the twenty‐first century.

Originality/value

The visualizations and data mining techniques are developed for this study context. The approach can add value by tracking and monitoring current and emerging trends relevant to the Foundation's strategic framework, operational initiatives, and areas of work. Parts of this paper have been presented in a previous publication (see www.bu.edu/pardee/publications‐library/connecting‐the‐dots/).

Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Teresa Malyshev

In the absence of new policies, global trends in energy supply and consumption are unsustainable all around. Today, roughly 2.6 billion people use fuelwood, charcoal, agricultural

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Abstract

Purpose

In the absence of new policies, global trends in energy supply and consumption are unsustainable all around. Today, roughly 2.6 billion people use fuelwood, charcoal, agricultural waste and animal dung to meet most of their daily energy needs for cooking and heating. There are 1.6 billion people in the world without electricity, equal to over a quarter of the world population. The purpose of this paper is to present pro‐poor solutions for addressing the crippling impacts of current global energy use on the world's poorest people.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper lays out scenarios for global energy demand and greenhouse‐gas emissions and highlights the impact of these trends on developing countries. Based largely on publications and research from the International Energy Agency, it shows that better targeted subsidies, capacity building, integrated policy approaches and improvements in data collection can help to alleviate the impacts of current energy use on health and the environment.

Findings

Decisive action is needed to expand energy access and to arrest the potential impacts of climate change in poor countries. It is demonstrated here that investments in programs that are tailored to promoting development and addressing climate change simultaneously can be successfully deployed.

Originality/value

There is an urgent need for policymakers in rich and poor countries to join together and tackle the global energy and climate challenges, and, as this paper shows, pro‐poor foresight is needed to ensure that these challenges are met in an equitable and sustainable way.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Ozcan Saritas and Ian Miles

The current paper aims to present the Scan‐4‐Light study, which was conducted for the systematic scanning and analysis of the Searchlight newsletters as a rapidly growing

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Abstract

Purpose

The current paper aims to present the Scan‐4‐Light study, which was conducted for the systematic scanning and analysis of the Searchlight newsletters as a rapidly growing collection of articles on trends and topics in development and poverty.

Design/methodology/approach

Built upon the concept of the systemic foresight methodology, the Scan‐4‐Light approach involves the integrated use of horizon scanning, network analysis and evolutionary scenarios combined with expert consultations and workshops. The study identified the emerging trends, issues, weak signals and wild cards; created high‐value visualisations to emphasize the results and findings; and produced narratives to increase the impact and awareness of the development issues.

Findings

The Scan‐4‐Light project has resulted in a large number of specific outputs, providing the views of the Searchlight newsletters' contents at various levels of granularity. It has set out to show how the tools used here can be applied to illustrate the relationships among issues, and how these vary across countries and regions over time, and are linked to various stakeholders and possible solutions to problems.

Research limitations/implications

Scan‐4‐Light demonstrates how foresight tools and techniques can be used for the analysis of complex and uncertain issues, such as development and poverty, in a systemic way.

Practical implications

The Scan‐4‐Light approach can be applied in a number of areas for scanning and identifying emerging trends and issues, and understanding the relationships between systems and solutions.

Social implications

The paper gives evidence that most of the issues, if not all, related to development are not isolated, but interlinked and interconnected. They require more holistic understanding and intervention with an effective collaboration between stakeholders.

Originality/value

A demonstration of a novel scanning approach is presented in the paper.

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Ian Miles and Ozcan Saritas

This essay aims to introduce horizon scanning as an approach fundamental to most foresight studies.

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Abstract

Purpose

This essay aims to introduce horizon scanning as an approach fundamental to most foresight studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay combines a general review of the topic with an overview of a range of horizon‐scanning approaches that are in use in the UK health system.

Findings

Different approaches – shorter as well as longer‐term, searching as well as broad scanning – are appropriate in different circumstances. In times of systemic change it is necessary to combine approaches of all types.

Research limitations/implications

Only a small sample of the huge range of horizon‐scanning exercises has been studied, and the essay has not gone far into the question of how horizon‐scanning relates to other elements of the foresight process.

Practical implications

The implication is that horizon‐scanning should be undertaken on a routine basis, and should be integrated into planning activities from the start.

Social implications

Horizon‐scanning is a tool needed in activities such as planning for the workforce, and for health and safety issues.

Originality/value

The essay covers a wide range of activities with real‐life illustrations in addition to overall assessment.

Details

Foresight, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Leon S. Fuerth

The purpose of this paper is to lay a theoretical basis for discussion of the ways by which organized foresight can be employed in the service of pro‐poor objectives. This is in

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to lay a theoretical basis for discussion of the ways by which organized foresight can be employed in the service of pro‐poor objectives. This is in line with the fundamental mandate of the Rockefeller Foundation, dating from its establishment.

Design/methodology/approach

The objective was to capture concepts that the author has been developing and teaching under the heading of “Forward engagement”. Forward engagement is a particular approach to anticipatory governance, drawing upon complexity theory for assessment of issues requiring government policy; network theory for proposed reforms to legacy systems of governance to enable them to manage complexity under conditions of accelerating change; and cybernetic theory to propose feedback systems to allow ongoing measurement of the performance of policies against expectations. For more detail, visit www.forwardengagement.org.

Findings

The paper sketches out some core elements of a system for anticipatory governance.

Originality/value

In addition to the primary findings of forward engagement (see web site), this paper argues that foresight and anticipatory concepts can play a vital role, not only for governance in the United States, but for governance in developing countries: perhaps even more so, because such countries have narrower margins for response to significant changes of circumstance.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

William Lyakurwa

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential of the present drivers of economic governance, trade and investment, and also to envision their intersections and

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential of the present drivers of economic governance, trade and investment, and also to envision their intersections and cross‐cutting impacts on poverty and human development.

Design/methodology/approach

A general review is employed to highlight scenarios shaping Africa's economic governance and the magnitude of their impact on pro‐poor growth. Potential responses are identified to address African vulnerabilities to poor governance and alternative dimensions to achievable equitable future are recommended for implementing those measures as a way forward.

Findings

The paper observes that changes to the policy environment should include reform in Africa's governance and policy processes by supporting participation by a variety of actors including the poor rural farmers and women among others.

Research limitations/implications

A broader literature review to support some of the recommended alternative dimensions is needed.

Practical implications

The existing economic governance structure in Africa does not include stakeholders. Changes to the policy environment should include reform in Africa's economic governance and policy processes by supporting participation by a variety of actors including the poor rural actors (farmers and women) among other underrepresented groups.

Originality/value

The paper uses foresight and futures in discussing alternative scenarios for economic governance as relatives to poverty reductions and human development.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

1 – 10 of 14