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FTA2018 conference themes & strands

All contributions need to address one or several of the themes and will be organised in three strands.


Theme 1: People & Power- New actors, new channels of influence

People & Power is about the proliferation of actors involved in setting policy agendas and the appearance of new channels and platforms to engage and influence, possibly leading to a shift in the relative power of legislative assemblies.

Main hypotheses:

  • Loss of trust in government and democratic systems
  • A concentration of economic power but a proliferation of grass-roots alternatives such as local currencies
  • A stronger impact of an array of social and economic actors, including citizens, with different degrees of transparency
  • Policy being set through technology and its use; e.g., the use of artificial intelligence and automation generating machine-based decisions with ethical implications and unclear accountability
  • A multiplication of channels and platforms to test and build opinions and influence

Theme 2: Policymaking & Practice - Speed, complexity, urgency

Policymaking & Practice deals with the question of how policymakers can navigate going from a heterogeneous landscape that can be planned to a reality where planning becomes increasingly a challenge.

Main hypotheses:

  • Increased importance of multi-layer governance and supra-national governance
  • Cities as platforms for citizen engagement and empowerment
  • Accelerating change and exposure to novelty, shorter feedback loops and decreasing relevance of the policy cycle
  • More crisis management and less long-term planning

Theme 3: Perceptions & Potentials - Transitions, trust

Perceptions & Potentials is about game-changing shifts in the way the world appears and functions.

It relates to both, scientific breakthroughs and radical innovation as well as socio-cultural and value changes.

These changes influence how reality is perceived, individually or collectively, and question assumptions and long-held beliefs.

Main hypotheses:

  • Innovation is happening in a regulatory uncertainty
  • Innovation is driven both by technology and societal developments
  • Shifts in perceptions and values have transformative effects on society and democracy


Strand 1: Challenging insights from recent (policy-oriented) foresight and future-oriented processes

This strand aims at providing policymakers with insights generated by foresight and future-oriented processes that may challenge present assumptions and require reconsidering how and by whom policy is being set and implemented.

Furthermore, how can foresight contribute to support policymakers in defining/revising legal or policy frameworks while dealing with difficult ethical issues?

We invite policy-oriented contributions for this strand addressing any of the three horizontal themes. Contributions could comprise:

  • Contributions on insights from foresight or future-oriented processes addressing especially innovation in designing, shaping, and implementing policies;
  • Contributions synthesising or consolidating multiple cases of foresight processes contributing to innovative or new policy setting and/ or policy formulation.

Strand 2: Advances in theory and methodology supporting policymaking

This strand aims at advancing the array of methods and practices used in foresight and future-oriented processes contributing to policymaking. We invite both theory-oriented and practice-based contributions especially targeting the second horizontal theme (Policymaking & Practice).

Contributions could comprise:

  • Foresight and future-oriented approaches making use of combinations of quantitative and qualitative methods to develop new visions, explore ideas, get information and data, clarify situations and negotiate solutions;
  • Approaches highlighting the co-designing and co-creating elements of the future-oriented processes aiming at policy definition and shaping, enlarging the set of stakeholders and/or policy areas;
  • Foresight and future-oriented processes seeking to combine tools and methods stemming from complementary disciplines (e.g. design, behavioural insights STS) contributing and enriching the way foresight and future-oriented activities are designed, organised, managed and implemented;
  • Foresight and future-oriented processes using data analytics, especially with regards to new data sources (including big data) and novel ways of using, presenting and visualising data.

Strand 3: Experience and explore

For these hands-on, experiential and exploratory sessions, we are inviting contributions of tools and methods using multidisciplinary approaches, including serious games addressing the three horizontal themes. Contributions could comprise:

  • Foresight and future-oriented novel approaches such as gaming, exploring different ways to participation and engagement in foresight and future-oriented processes.

FTA2018 - Call for proposals and background

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FTA2018 - Call for proposals and background