Foresight for Smart Globalization

In assessing the practice of foresight as generally applied within government, industry, and the non-governmental sector, an important gap quickly becomes apparent: poverty is rarely included as an explicit issue for consideration. While foresight exercises typically take into account the impact of long-term political, economic, social, and technological trends, the differential implications of these factors for the lives of the poor tend not to be substantively addressed.

The Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF), with support from the Rockefeller Foundation convened a workshop of leading experts in foresight from around the world. This workshop, entitled Foresight for Smart Globalization: Accelerating & Enhancing Pro-Poor Development Opportunities, was held from March 16-20, 2009 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s conference facilities in Bellagio, Italy. It was co-chaired by Leon Fuerth—Founder and Director of the Project on Forward Engagement, Research Professor at the George Washington University, and former National Security Adviser to Vice President Al Gore—and David Jhirad, Special Advisor for Energy and Climate Change at the Rockefeller Foundation. You can see the full list of attendees and their websites here.

Institute for Alternative Futures and The Rockefeller Foundation Release Foresight for Smart Globalization: Accelerating and Enhancing Pro-Poor Development Opportunities. Click on the image to read the full report.

B y convening a group of high-level experts to explore opportunities for implementing foresight focused on pro-poor solutions in the global South, the workshop aimed to achieve a number of goals:

To highlight the rationale and practice of pro-poor foresight in accelerating and enhancing “smart globalization”
To gain a better understanding of foresight in relation to a set of key issues that are relevant to the global South
To convene and create network-building opportunities for a burgeoning community of practitioners concerned with advancing foresight for development.
The reports from the Foresight for Smart Globalization workshop were collected in a special edition of Foresight: The Journal of Futures Studies, Strategic Thinking and Policy. The reports are collected below:

Foresight for Smart Globalization by David Jhirad, Claudia Juech and Evan S. Michelson
Foresight & Anticipatory Governance by Leon Fuerth
The Future of Science & Technology and Pro-Poor Applications by Nares Domrongchai and Evan S. Michelson
Looking Ahead: Energy, Climate and Pro-Poor Responses by Teresa Malyshev
Prospects for Economic Governance: Pro-Poor Resilient Growth by William M. Lyakurwa
“Foresight for Smart Globalization”: Synthesis Statement and Recommendations by Clement Bezold, Claudia Juech and Evan S. Michelson
The summary report looks at some of the connections between the worlds of foresight and development. There are clear opportunities for making connections and enhancing pro-poor development. A number of these opportunities are captured in the report as recommendations for furthering pro-poor foresight and development. The Rockefeller Foundation has also funded the development of an interactive website for those interested in developing pro-poor foresight. The link for that site will be available shortly.

Included on this website and throughout the report are images or concepts related to foresight which were developed by Joe Ravetz, author, foresight practitioner and graphic facilitator. They were developed during the course meeting with participants to record and visualize the ideas that emerged over out of the workshop.

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