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Posts Tagged ‘horizon scanning’

What if the European Union would have acted upon the results of its own research on wild cards, which foresaw a Coronavirus-like scenario 10 years ago?

March 20, 2020 Leave a comment

Over a decade ago the European Union invested around 1 million Euro to fund the iKnow project as one of the so-called Blue Sky forward-looking activities. The project aimed at interconnecting Knowledge on issues and developments potentially shaking or shaping the future of science, technology and innovation (STI) in Europe and the world.

In the early 2000s there was a general consensus that the identification and analysis of Wild Cards and Weak Signals (WI-WE) and their effects on European and global science, technology and innovation (STI) policy often remained out of the policy radar and therefore deserved more attention in foresight and forward-looking activities.

Wild Cards are the kind of issues that can potentially shake our present and future, like the way the current Coronavirus is unfolding. While Weak Signals are ambiguous events, often referred to as seeds of change, providing advance intelligence or hints about potentially important futures, including Wild Cards, challenges and opportunities. Weak Signals lie in the eye of the beholder and are generally influenced by the mental frameworks and subjective interpretations of individuals with limited information about emerging trends, developments or issues in a particular time and context. Their weakness is directly proportional to levels of uncertainty about their interpretations, importance and implications in the short-medium-to-long-term. Thus, Weak Signals are unclear observables warning us about the possibility of future game changing events.

The iKnow project had two interconnected objectives: 1) To develop and pilot conceptual and methodological frameworks to identify and analyse Wild Cards and Weak Signals (WI-WE); and 2) To assess the implications and impact of selected WI-WE on, science, technology and innovation (STI) and key dimensions of the European Research Area (ERA). There are plenty of outcomes resulting from the project, including reports, a pioneering early warning system for the co-creation of strategic intelligence, the first open bank of wild cards and weak signals and more, all publicly available at http://news.iknowfutures.eu/. However, the rest of this blog will address the following question:

What if the European Union would have acted upon the results of its own EU-funded research on wild cards, which foresaw the Coronavirus 10 years ago? 

Back in May 2010, together with some colleagues and health experts from Germany, we organised a workshop  in which we discussed what we then called a Killer Virus, described as a highly infectious and lethal virus (that) appears and spreads out around the world fast due to the high mobility of the world population. The number of casualties is high and rises constantly, leading to massive social problems. The impacts are vast on all areas of life.

The Killer Virus was only one of some 44 wild cards we decided to feature in the iKnow Policy Alerts (2011) report. Interestingly it was the first wild card discussed and fully analysed with surprising wild features, key actors (i.e. early warners, shapers and stakeholders), potential impacts and, most importantly, potential actions for policy, business and research actors. We also provided some weak signals indicating that prospective mutations of such viruses could lead to large numbers of casualties.

An innovative contribution of the iKnow project was the effort devoted to “tame” the wild cards and with the help of weak signals and a systematic methodology to explore implications for science, technology and innovation (STI) policy.

With this in mind, for each of the featured wild cards we emphasised the ‘recommended research‘ that needed to be funded by the European Union. This advise was provided in the form of an imaginary “Call for proposals” following the same style used by the European Commission in its Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. In other words, we clearly specified the 1) Thematic Area (Health); 2) Research Topic (Prevention of pandemics: Awareness reading and surveillance systems); 3) Objective (To increase the probability of virus detection at the earliest possible stage. It is also to prevent behavioural patterns from accelerating the rapid spread of a virus); Expected Impact (To reduce the risk of delays in detecting lethal viruses; To facilitate behavioural interventions to control the effects of a virus; and To help to control and contain the infection within a region or population and before it reaches pandemic scale); and Importance for Europe (Europe is one of the world’s largest traffic junctions and is therefore especially vulnerable to the appearance of a lethal virus. Europeans are highly mobile both for business reasons and tourism. New viruses often originate in tropical regions, which Europeans are increasingly likely to visit).

Unfortunately, we can fast-forward 10 years from the completion of the iKnow project and find ourselves in the current Coronavirus pandemic with no effective awareness raising or surveillance systems in place. This is definitely not the first example of highly relevant research and policy advice that policymakers did not act upon. However, the evident inadvertence or lack of foresight from European and other stakeholders capable of doing the ‘right thing’ at the ‘right time’ shows that it is not sufficient that EC Project Officers congratulate Project Coordinators for the successful completion of their projects! There are cases where follow-up actions are crucial, especially when recommendations can help to build resilience and readiness towards grand societal challenges.

Hopefully this blog will help to create the ‘right momentum’ to mobilise a critical mass capable to reach out to policymakers with the power to introduce a much-needed set of “foresight-driven” mechanisms or instruments that will allow us to act upon very explicit and timely reported ‘Policy Alerts’ that can literally shake our societies in Europe and the rest of the world. While projects like iKnow would certainly deserve some kind of ‘aftercare’ funding to continue generating strategic policy advice, our efforts would only translate into further frustrations if politicians driving us to the future continue to be asleep at the wheel.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this personal blog do not represent the views of my past or current employers. These are my own reflections as a foresight practitioner and a true believer that change can also happen if individual or collective authoritative voices reach out to the right people through impactful channels. Social media can become a powerful instrument to “undust” the results of such a large-scale foresight study combining evidence, expertise, interaction and creativity to support decision makers in policy, business and research circles. Despite these views, I am a strong believer in the wide-ranging benefits of European Commission Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, thus I remain an active player in many projects, some of which are still ongoing.

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2018 Course on The ART of Foresight & Sustainable Futures

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Interested in shaping the future? Join our 5-day course (2-6 July) on ‘The ART of Foresight & Sustainable Futures’ in the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR). Since 2018 the course runs in partnership with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a leading global research & technology development organization.

  • To download the 2018 course brochure, please click here
  • To visit the webpage of the 2018 course, please click here

Anticipating, Recommending and Transforming Research and Innovation Futures

The world is experiencing great uncertainties about the unfolding economic crisis and its aftershocks. Many countries, industries and public services face challenging futures where the quest for opportunities is increasingly competitive. Economic discontent has combined with existing political stresses to catch many institutions – and countries – wrong-footed. Meanwhile, globalisation, migration, environmental, political and technological trends are reshaping the rules of the game. This calls for critical reflections on existing assumptions, plans and strategies for the long-term future. Our foresight course explores ways in which decision-makers can address uncertainties. How to produce sound and forward looking results that are useful for decision-makers?

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research has been running an annual foresight training course since 1999. Building on over twenty years of foresight experience, we are able to call upon a wealth of expertise, from staff with know-how of the practice of foresight, as well as from sponsors and practitioners. The course now runs in partnership with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a leading global research and technology development organisation. Future-oriented innovation policy research is a key focus for VTT, supported by the Centre’s competencies in qualitative and quantitative methods.

Course staff and invited experts/speakers

Horizon scanning: why and how to launch it in Lithuania?

February 22, 2018 Leave a comment

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The Healthcare Innovation Forum in Vilnius (Lithuania) provides an excellent opportunity to share how VTT‘s Lighthouses research and innovation activities can help to promote ‘Good Life’ in Finland and the World through ‘citizen-centric care’ solutions. In the panel discussion and short keynote I showcased good practices, as well as recent experiences and lessons learned from the UK Horizon Scanning on Healthcare. To download the slides please click here  

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The first panel debate at the LAWG’s Healthcare Innovation Forum 2018 on “Horizon scanning: why & how to launch it in Lithuania?” featured the following speakers:

  • Dr. Alvydas Česas, Chief of Oncology & Chemotherapy Clinic at Klaipeda University Hospital. Dr. Česas is a certified physician and medical oncologist with over 20 yrs of experience in the field of oncology. He is also the President of Lithuanian Society for Medical Oncology.
  • Per Troein from VP Strategic Partners, IQVIA, UK. Mr. Troein has been with QI for 19 years and is responsible for the relationship with suppliers and associations. He has deep insight around pharmaceutical pricing and how this issue is handled in different markets.
  • Prof. Dr. Rafael Popper from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Finland/Venezuela/UK. His main areas of work include: ‘foresight’ as an instrument of innovation policy, the development of foresight and horizon scanning methodology, the design of forward-looking activities and their evaluation with a focus on technological and social innovation policies, and the assessment and management of sustainable innovations.

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To see the full programme, please click here.

PS. In case you don’t know where Vilnius is, you may find the following controvertial and cheeky, yet impactful, campaign/news interesting 😉

Vinius-G-spot-of-Europe

International Seminar on Foresight and Sustainable Innovation at UNIVALLE (Cali, Colombia)

July 13, 2017 Leave a comment

In the context of Universidad del Valle (UNIVALLE)’s efforts to further improve its research excellence (currently Top 3 in the country according to U-Sapiens ranking),  an International Seminar on Foresight and Sustainable Innovation took place in Cali on 13-14 July 2017.

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The seminar was organised by Dr. Javier Medina Vásquez (Vice-Rector for Research of UNIVALLE) and attended by some 30 senior researchers, academics and postgraduate students. The main purpose of the seminar was twofold:

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Lecture based on EU-SPRI Vienna Conference paper by Hyytinen, Kallio & Popper (2017)

As the CASI project ended in June 2017, the seminar was fully funded by UNIVALLE in the spirit of strengthening linkages with VTT´s Business, Innovation and Foresight (BIF) Research Area and the scientific coordinators of the CASI Tutorial.

The success of the seminar can be measured by the fact that practically all participants completed the full course with a score of 80% or above in the self-assessment tasks, which resulted in most of them receiving a certificate of outstanding completion.

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Certificate of Outstanding Completion

Furthermore, the news about the online course spread throughout Colombia with the participation of researchers and students from other universities such as Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá), Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá), Universidad Antonio Nariño (Bogotá), Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia (Medellín), Universidad del Rosario (Bogotá), among others. As a result, Colombia now stands in 1st position in terms number of participants and certificates on ‘Sustainable Innovation Assessment and Management’.

See list of course participants (as of 4 September 2017)

Colombia 86
Bulgaria 43
Portugal 22
Poland 19
Czech Republic 18
Peru 15
Austria 12
Italy 10
United Kingdom 10
Germany 6
Finland 5
Mexico 3
Belgium 2
France 2
Korea South 2
Slovenia 2
Spain 2
Tanzania 2
Argentina 1
Burkina Faso 1
Cyprus 1
Denmark 1
Ecuador 1
Egypt 1
Greece 1
Japan 1
Kyrgyzstan 1
Luxembourg 1
Panama 1
Romania 1
Singapore 1
Tajikistan 1
Venezuela 1
Total 276
Completed 107

Free course on sustainable innovation assessment & management

May 17, 2017 Leave a comment

casi-tutorial-bannerSustainable Innovation Assessment and Management: Widening Horizons on climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials.

Free online course on sustainable innovation assessment and management concepts, practices, key lessons and policy messages. Get inspired!

Course outline

The CASI project aims at assessing Sustainable Innovations (SI) that respond to Societal Challenge 5 of Horizon 2020, namely ‘Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials’, in order to develop a framework supporting better management of SI initiatives. This FREE online course offers a comprehensive review of sustainable innovation related topics organised around 6 Modules and 12 Units.

Module 1: CASI-F in action

  • Unit 1: CASI-F principles and methodology – A five-step guide to future-proof action plans: Understand the why, what and how of sustainable innovation assessment and management.
  • Unit 2: CASI-F Tools – Web-based solutions supporting open innovation practices: Use CASI-F tools and optimize your innovation potential through learning by doing.

Module 2: Sustainable Innovation Concepts

  • Unit 3: SI assessment of innovations, systems and issues – A must-have set of criteria for more holistic sustainability appraisals: Learn about 7 types of innovations and new assessment indicators.
  • Unit 4: SI management actions, dimensions and key aspects – A comprehensive set of decision-support concepts: Discover different types of managerial needs and innovative ways of framing solutions.

Module 3: Sustainable Innovation in the EU

  • Unit 5: SI evolution in EC FP5, FP6 and FP7 – An overview of European Commission funded sustainability-oriented efforts between 1998-2013: Compare objectives, priorities and budgets.
  • Unit 6: SI priorities in H2020 SC5 – A guide to the EC Societal Challenge on Climate action, Environment, Resource efficiency and Raw materials: Explore SI priorities and more.

Module 4: Sustainable Innovation State-of-the-art

  • Unit 7: State-of-the-art of SI by type of innovation – Key results from the assessment of 500+ SI by type: Zoom into their objectives, priorities, multi-systemic impacts and sectoral relevance.
  • Unit 8: A quadruple helix approach to R&I agendas for SI – Top 10 research and innovation agendas for sustainability: Recognise the importance of the quadruple helix of SI actors in agenda-setting.

Module 5: Sustainable Innovation Pilot Study

  • Unit 9: SI actions and meta-actions from the CASI pilots – A set of 55 lessons resulting from the 1st phase of CASI-F applied to 43 pilots: Learn from innovators’ most common managerial choices.
  • Unit 10: 150 meta-tasks from CASI Action Roadmaps – 150 systematically generated lessons from the 2nd phase of CASI-F: Improve key context, people, process and impact aspects of innovation.

Module 6: Sustainable Innovation Advice

  • Unit 11: Lessons from the analysis of 1700+ SI critical issues – 60 Tweet-like recommendations from technological, economic, social, environmental, political, ethical and spatial perspectives. Get inspired!
  • Unit 12: Policy messages on SI assessment and management – 18 policy messages to better manage and assess sustainable innovation: Benefit from joint lessons and views on the way forward for CASI-F.

Certification

To qualify for a Certificate on ‘Sustainable Innovation Assessment and Management’ , signed by the Course Director from The University of Manchester, you should study and complete all modules (each lasting a maximum of 90 minutes) and score at least 60% in the self-assessment activities provided under each unit. Detailed information about your progress and score will be available under ‘My course’ tab of your user profile where you will also be able to retake each module (no more than once), if needed.

  • Certificate for satisfactorily completed course – By completing the full course with a 60-79% score in the self-assessment tasks you will receive a certificate of satisfactory completion.
  • Certificate for outstandingly completed course – By completing the full course with a score of 80% or above in the self-assessment tasks you will receive a certificate of outstanding completion.

Learning outcomes

While the CASI Sustainable Innovation Course offers answers and insights related to four key dimensions of sustainable innovation management (i.e. Context, People, Process, and Impact), one of the primary objectives of the training course is to focus on the ‘People’ dimension, and, in particular, on its two key aspects of ‘aptitude’ and ‘attitude’, which are necessary to promote and more effectively manage sustainable innovations. With this in mind, upon completion of this course, you will understand what sort of prerequisites, knowledge and leadership, among other skills, are needed to improve the sustainability of different types of innovations.

Course Director

  • Dr. Rafael Popper – For further information, contact: Rafael.Popper@manchester.ac.uk

Course Scientific Coordinators

  • Rafael Popper, Monika Popper and Guillermo Velasco

Course Technical Implementation

  • Futures Diamond

Course Contents Authors

  • (CZ) Futures Diamond
  • (DE) Technical University of Dortmund
  • (PT) Inova+
  • (UK) Coventry University Entreprise
  • (UK) The University of Manchester

Note: The online course self-assessment exercises were built and designed for desktop and laptop only. However, the course contents can also be accessed from mobile devices.

2017 Executive Course on Foresight and Horizon Scanning

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment

mioir_the_art_of_foresight_horizon_scanningThe ART of Foresight & Horizon Scanning: Anticipating, Recommending and Transforming Research and Innovation Futures

The world is experiencing great uncertainties about the unfolding economic crisis and its aftershocks. Many countries, industries and public services face challenging futures where the quest for opportunities is increasingly competitive. Economic discontent has combined with existing political stresses to catch many institutions – and countries – wrong-footed. Meanwhile, globalisation, migration, environmental, political and technological trends are reshaping the rules of the game. This calls for critical reflections on existing assumptions, plans and strategies for the long-term future.

Our foresight course explores ways in which decision-makers can address uncertainties. How to produce sound and forward looking results that are useful for decision-makers?

The Institute’s course on Foresight and Horizon Scanning has been running annually since 1999, exploring ways in which foresight may be used to help decision-makers and researchers.

Course date: 26-30 June 2017

Areas covered by the course include:

  • How can we proactively design and construct shared visions and success scenarios for societal groups and organisations?
  • What are the threats for which we should be building resilience?
  • What are the opportunities we should be taking advantage of in the future?
  • Why do we need to be systematic and strategic while planning and managing foresight and horizon scanning activities?
  • How do we act upon and evaluate the results of future-oriented work? How do you establish the optimal time horizon of an exercise?

The course is mostly delivered by Institute staff with contributions from external guest speakers, and provides an intensive and practice-orientated learning experience.

The course also offers core lectures on the rationales, processes and fundamentals of foresight and horizon scanning, as well as ways of managing, monitoring and evaluating such activities.

Course Overview

  • Next date: 26-30 June 2017
  • Delivered by: Senior staff and invited external experts
  • Teaching: Lectures, interactive group exercises, case studies, mini-projects
  • Location: Alliance Manchester Business School
  • View our brochure for more details

Registration

Full residential fee: £2,200 per person.
Fee includes – all course materials, accommodation for five nights (pre-booked as standard from, and including, Sunday prior to the start of the course, departing Friday last day of course) and all meals. (Telephone calls, newspapers and drinks at the bar are excluded, though internet access will be available free of charge during course hours).
Non-residential fees can be negotiated on application. Applications are transferable to another individual at any time. Otherwise the cancellation charges will apply as set out below.

Application and payment:

Discount for early booking

  • Foresight Course – before 7 April 2017

Speaker at the St.Petersburg International Innovation Forum

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

st-petersburg-innovation-forum

Solutions for ideas implementation: Foresight technologies in innovation management

Round table organizer:

  • Union of Managers of North-West, Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University.

Key issues on the agenda:

  • The role of Foresight technologies in strategic planning of a company.
  • Types of Foresight technologies – which one to use?
  • Who can become the expert in Foresight technologies?
  • What is the difference between the roadmap and the regular plan of a company?

Moderator:

  • Raskovalov Vladislav, Candidate of Engineering Sciences, Professor of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University, Chairman of Union of Managers of North-West; Russia.

Speakers:

  • Ananich Marina, advisor to the Governor of Novosibirsk region.
  • Borovkov Aleksey, Candidate of Engineering Sciences, Vice-Rector of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University; Russia.
  • Elin Evgeny, the Deputy Minister of the Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Russia.
  • Frolova Natalya, The Executive Secretary of regional Kaliningrad Commission of Organization of Management Training for Enterprises of the National Economy of the Russian Federation; Russia.
  • Gaynutdinov Rashid, Doctor of Political Sciences, Vice-Rector of Saint Petersburg State University of Economics; Russia.
  • Gaynutdinova Lyudmila, Doctor of Political Sciences, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of Political Sciences of The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia; Russia.
  • Gluhov Vladimir, Doctor of Economic Sciences, professor, Vice-Rector of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University; Russia.
  • Gorin Evgeniy, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Candidate of Physico-Mathematical Sciences, the Executive Vice-President of The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Employers) of St. Petersburg, Senior Research Officer of the Institute of Regional Economy of RAS; Russia.
  • Kadyrbaeva Aygul, Candidate of Economic Sciences, Director of the Institute of Continuing Professional Education GASIS; Russia.
  • Lushnikov Oleg, the Executive Director of NP “Hydraulic Power of Russia”; Russia.
  • Rafael Popper, Principal Scientist in Foresight, Organizational Dynamics & Systemic Change at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd; Finland.