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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.

Article
Publication date: 17 July 2009

Nares Damrongchai and Evan S. Michelson

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the overall lack of focus of existing foresight analysis concerning the future of science and technology on the issue of poverty. The

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the overall lack of focus of existing foresight analysis concerning the future of science and technology on the issue of poverty. The paper looks to re‐orient the technology foresight community to adopting an explicit pro‐poor perspective when considering future developments in science and technology (S&T).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a general overview of existing technology foresight studies from organizations located in North America, Europe, and Asia. By describing the key points made in a selection of foresight studies, the paper emphasizes the conceptual links between forward‐looking analysis related to S&T and poverty‐related issues.

Findings

The paper reaches two main conclusions about the role of S&T foresight and development. The first is that the foresight research community needs to interact more closely with the development community in order to enhance the value of the findings in each field to the other. Second, the pressing matter of poverty alleviation requires that the foresight community should come together and create a sense of urgency in issues that have long‐term implications but need immediate action and attention.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited to an approach that provides an overview of existing work in technology foresight. While no such review could be comprehensive, this paper provides examples of technology foresight analysis from a range of geographies, sectors, and perspectives to help mitigate this gap.

Practical implications

The argument suggests that technology foresight practitioners should make issues of poverty an explicit topic or category of analysis in future technology foresight activities. Including poverty issues in future scenario activities would go a long way to closing this gap.

Originality/value

This paper synthesizes ideas from a variety of forward‐looking studies addressing the future of science and technology and identifies the need to include poverty as a dimension for analysis in future studies. In addition, the paper provides an introduction to technology foresight work being conducted in Asia by the APEC Center for Technology Foresight.

Details

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

Keywords

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

Abstract

Details

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

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Kathi Vian, Matt Chwierutt, Tessa Finlev, David Evan Harris and Maureen Kirchner

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) has collaborated with the Rockefeller Foundation and its Searchlight function to create a framework for broad engagement in strategic thinking

Abstract

Purpose

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) has collaborated with the Rockefeller Foundation and its Searchlight function to create a framework for broad engagement in strategic thinking about ways to catalyze change in the lives of poor or vulnerable communities. This paper seeks to focus on this broad‐based approach.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting from the top‐down horizon scan of the foundation's Searchlight partners – a network of horizon scanning organizations – IFTF created a public database of signals of innovation and disruption in the domain of poverty and social change. This signals database was used to build a visual map of catalysts for change, creating a simple hierarchy of four catalyst types, each containing four action zones and a pivotal challenge. This map provided the language and framework for engaging a global community in a serious game to extend the vision of the Searchlight function and capture novel ideas for innovations that could improve the lives of those in marginalized communities.

Findings

With an estimated global reach of 160,000 views and 1,600 game players from 79 countries, the game produced more than 18,000 ideas about catalysts for change.

Originality/value

This framework of foresight (the signals database) to insight (the visual map of catalysts for change) to action (global strategic game) demonstrates a way to integrate top‐down expert foresight with bottom‐up strategic ideation on a global scale.

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: 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: 2 November 2012

Jason Christopher Chan and Livia Dee Von Chng

In partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, the RAHS Program Office (RPO) of the National Security Coordination Secretariat at the Prime Minister's Office in Singapore has

Abstract

Purpose

In partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, the RAHS Program Office (RPO) of the National Security Coordination Secretariat at the Prime Minister's Office in Singapore has undertaken the innovative approach of the Searchlight function to systematically make sense of the current contextual environment to be better positioned to anticipate the future of poor and vulnerable communities. This paper aims to outline the approach taken and to offer a glimpse into the next steps.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the expertise and knowledge from the Searchlight newsletters, RPO applied its SKAN‐to‐Trend Process to funnel down newsletters and generate themes for investigation. The process is augmented by the RAHS 2.0 system, to collect and classify data generated to analyse and understand relationships therein, and anticipate as well as discover emerging issues.

Findings

The scenario building tools allowed the RPO analysts to use systems thinking to build systems maps and influence diagrams to help identify critical drivers based on influence and to understand the relationships between driving forces. From the systems map, critical feedback loops were identified and analysed, and evidence marshalled to support alternative policy options to help overcome the vicious cycles of the poor and vulnerable communities.

Research limitations/implications

Although the approach may seem limited in terms of breadth, it does provide a more in‐depth study of relevant insights and themes.

Practical implications

The selection process was done by analysts whose selections will necessarily be subjective depending on each of the analysts' worldview and leanings. This was balanced by gathering a team of analysts from RPO from diverse backgrounds, from the sciences and engineering to the arts.

Social implications

It is evident that the expanding gulf of growing inequality will tear the social fabric because poverty and inequality are so intricately linked.

Originality/value

The paper shows that, as a visualisation partner, RPO will present a diversity of perspectives through the utilisation of its risk assessment and horizon scanning processes and tools to help understand the pathways of poor and vulnerable communities.

1 – 10 of 18