Philosophy, more valid knowledge about futures, scientific use of methods. Futures research is looking for its place among scientific activities. Besides this challenge, futurists do not even share common understanding what distinguishes “good” futures research from mediocre studies. One of the main aims of the research oriented sessions in the conference is to discuss quality criteria for foresight studies, to compare existing approaches and perhaps to suggest new ones. What are validity standards of the futures research? Do new, web-based interactive instruments really enhance the quality of foresight? Is there a new balance of qualitative and quantitative approaches? How to better integrate expert knowledge and creativity? Which of the new concepts are only fashion, and which ones deserve a deeper scientific foundation? Are there general rules for combining foresight methods for effective futures research?
Futures thinking and learning are closely interconnected concepts. Actors make choices based on what they have learned. Futures researchers need to take a stand with psychologists, philosophers and neuroscientists to promote futures thinking as a new learning mode. More specific problems are e.g. how to teach futures concepts, tools and processes in school and university settings? How to combine the futures research with educational models and approaches, many of which have futures thinking as part of their underlying worldview? Should we promote concepts like “futures thinking,” “evolution of consciousness” or “global mindset change”
Action for Futures
Managing wicked problem; realizing preferable futures; promoting collective or participative action; motivating, imaginative and creative futures; artistic or “manipulation for good” use of methods. Many activists consider that that the western value-free science is not able to handle wicked problems. It is important to focus on shared values or targets making collective action possible and dreaming of the impossible (visions, not just those developments considered to be possible), and backcasting that transforms impossible to possible. The empowerment of non-Western cultures and planetary inclusion. Artistic futures studies that focus on contrafactual futures: surprises, black swans, i.e., the unexpected events, developments, and consequences.