Strategic Foresight

For decades, Geneva has provided a crucible for courageous ‘outside the box’ thinking on contemporary issues – political democracy, humanitarianism, conflict, peace and disarmament, human rights, international trade and sustainable development, investment financing, environmental issues, telecommunications, intellectual property, etc. – learning from observation and experience of mistakes made and lessons learned and leveraging the contributions of thought-leaders from government, private sector and civil society.

The “Global Futures – Geneva Perspectives” series of events respond to the gathering consensus that the global governance and financing models developed in previous centuries are unlikely to produce sustainable solutions to 21st Century challenges.

New levels of complexity require new approaches, with more deliberate attention to systemic

issues and the interplay between governmental, private sector and civil society roles and responsibilities in global efforts to defend universal human rights, end extreme poverty and inequality, prevent conflict, reduce the risk of natural disasters and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Working with local and global actors based in Geneva – government and inter-governmental, private sector and civil society – our primary goal is to contribute to informed debate about global mega-trends, deepen awareness and understanding of new ways of thinking and explore possibilities for the application of state of the art tools and techniques to infuse and refresh Geneva Perspectives and allow us to imagine and, purposefully, plan towards alternative Global Futures.

Demonstrating an action oriented relevance and utility of these new approaches to conversations about truly wicked problems.

Global Futures – Geneva Perspectives provides a safe place for leading strategists representing different constituencies, to explore and appropriate practical applications, using game-changing methodologies to catalyse the quantum shift that many believe is required in current ‘global’ conference processes.

By making futures thinking available to all of International Geneva, where the mega-trends are identified, Incitāre is hoping to see all organisations create plans for the future that shift the way problems are seen and dealt with in the development and humanitarian spheres.

Since 2015, Incitare associates have organised successive Global Futures Geneva Perspectives and convened the Community of Strategic Foresight Learning and Practice in International Geneva. Lead partners include Professor Sohail Inayatullah (UNESCO Futures Chair), Dr Riel Miller, UNESCO Strategic Foresight lead, and futurists at the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID), the Geneva Higher School of Management, and the School of International Futures (UK), and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Preparations are under way for the postponed 2018 Global Futures Geneva Perspectives to take place (subject to funding) in 2019 on the them “Learning for Resilience in the 21st Century” (education futures).

Our time is experiencing rapid, radical and long-term changes. As the foundation for the development of people of all ages, education – learning to learn – is key to enable humanity to face these changes. At the same time, current approaches to education are greatly challenge in face of these changes.

Changes with respect to the content of education, the ways and means of teaching, the necessity of an education meeting the new needs of the economic sphere and labour world as well as those of society and environment among others.

The challenge is to ensure harmonious, peaceful, cohesive and inclusive societies.

From principles of inclusivity and subsidiarity, it draws on extensive trans-border networks to identify a core set of stakeholders who are both willing and have the capacity to manage a large scale initiative, with multiple components, prioritising local to global, to strengthen capacity and transfer most promising practices to partners best placed to engage in fit purpose learning processes with different constituencies.

These constituencies make provision for “education” (in its broadest sense – beyond bricks and mortar and institutionalised learning, embracing what we know of how human beings learn (neuroscience), and the impact of technology on learning and information exchange to shape a new understanding of what and how we should teach (pedagogy).

The Community of Learning and Practice provides the platform for regular “Futures Roundtables”which have met on a number of occasions at the Geneva Think Tank Hub.  Other hosts in 2017 and 2018 were the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Global Humantiarian Lab.

In October 2018, the Futures Roundtable co’hosted by Incitare and Humanitarian Roundtables led to the development of a proposal for a “Humanitarian Sector Survey” as the prototype for a series of sector studies to map current levels of awareness and access to futures thinking tools in key sectors of interest to organisations, institutions and institutions in international Geneva.  

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