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SESSION ON GAPS,
Dr Angela Wilkinson
An emerging policy agenda: new economic
• Connect challenges
• Cross scale interactions
• Distributions matter (not an averages world)
• Multi-dimensional policy frameworks:
• Analysis of policy trade-offs, synergies
• Attention to policy alignment and coherence
• Big Data?
• Quality of anticipation: one future or many?
Implications for climate adaptation research, tools and methods?
Ref: OECD NAEC Initiative
Questions that frame choice of methods
• Meta framing:
– What is the nature of the universe (material and mechanistic, living universe)?
– Is the nature of the climate change adaptation challenge a wicked-problem, requiring post normal science?
– Is policy only concerned with the resource limitations of the current economic model, “the collision with nature”? Or
are we concerned with the broader issue of redefining progress i.e. a new narrative beyond growth?
• Process design:
– Is ‘our’ objective to find tools and methods to evolve a comprehensive road map that could provide a blueprint of steps
and efforts needed to adapt to the global challenges (top-down) or to develop new approaches to the problems of
human development (bottom up). Or to mash different systems perspectives?
– What is the policy making process; who are the policy stakeholders; do new tools and methods imply a redesign of the
existing process and practices?
• Decision support:
– What economic theory do we have to deal with the adaptation challenge: economics of stability/equilibrium or
economics of innovation/resilience/transformation?
– Is there a new economic accord: something after the Washington Consensus frame of good policy?
• Can an emphasis on ‘what works’ avoid instrumentalism and policy ‘lock in’?
– It is possible to avoid the trap of over-relying on deterministic causal logics to engage deep uncertainty and thus
identify new opportunities and threats?
– What new ‘recipes’ are acceptable to policymakers: can we inform safe-fail approaches?
– How to take on new agendas – anti-fragility, resilience
Foresight: one future or many?
• Adaption requires actionable foresight: anticipatory knowledge, adaptive capacity and improvisation
– Connection deficits (policy silos, vested interests)
– Emerging risk governance
– Policy innovation and prototyping: learning-by-doing
– Causes effects and is an ontological aspect of living systems
– Worldview shift: from stability and variability to flow and temporary
– Future as cultural ‘fact’ – imagination, anticipation, inspiration
• Futures methods and tools are diverse, but mastery with mixed methods is rare!
– Horizon scanning, scenarios, visioning and back casting
– Many different types of models and approached to modelling: formal models, clay modelling, soft and hard
– Big Data, narrative analytics, evolutionary models are reshaping the toolkit
• Foresight-into-policy is a social process; users and uses matter
– Different starting points, not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ world
– Purposes vary: restore or transform the ‘system’ reflect different future ontologies
– Avoiding the implementation gap: purposeful design and co-creation/-production logics are key
– Take care: clarify notions of what is meant by ‘strategy’ and ‘policy’ processes and identify links
• Scenarios – a misunderstood approach but offer huge potential
– Ontological role of scenarios – generating, representing, curating to narrating knowledge
– Diversity within scenarios:
• Realist futures (conjectural, Bell);
• Constructivist futures (knowledge connected to communities, coproduced in interaction, Dator)
– Reframing role: epistemic security from paradigms to reflexivity, from evidence to sensitivity, knowledge
about futures to relationships with futures
– Exposing deeply held assumptions by working with a manageable set of alternative futures
– Social processes for forging new common ground that engages and respects differences
– Narrative and numbers
– Platforms for building social capital and developing new strategic vocabulary
OECD Strategic Foresight Upgrade
Deeper assumptions/shifting worldviews: the
futures of the science system!
Source: ICSU International Science in 2031 (2011)
• Responding to societal
challenges is a key part of
• Science is thriving and
appreciated in all its diversity
• Broadening the disciplinary
• Public appreciation and
engagement have become
integral to the way science
• Scientific integrity helps ensure
• New mechanisms for planning
and managing science
• Policy-making is more
participatory and open with
science making a valued
• Scientific capability and
resources are a truly global