We are living in a world that is becoming more complex and where change is rapid.
In this world, our basic assumptions are likely to change. An action, a process, a culture which could have been successful in the past can become inadequate before it can adapt. It is therefore a question of survival to think, explore and anticipate alternative long term futures.
On the other hand, in a world which is complex and fast-changing, a limited action can have a big impact -- the well-known butterfly effect.
There is good news and bad news. Good news because we are all empowered to participate in a better future for the world and the next generation. The bad news is that we are also empowered to cause major damage to our planet.
Complexity has shown the ability to produce emergence of new concepts, new paths, new opportunities. We will live in a world more and more unknown where “differently” will be at the same time our wealth and our challenge.
In this context, if you do not think about the long-term future, you are not able to make wise decisions in the short term. Obvious, down-to-earth and pragmatic decisions may result in big mistakes because the world has changed or will change in an unanticipated way.
This is a challenge, which is already present, and is becoming more relevant for individuals, companies, states, and the planet as a whole. That is why our way of planning and creating strategy must fundamentally change. We do not have to build our vision only as an extrapolation of the present. We can build our vision from a deep understanding and awareness of alternative scenarios for, and possible discontinuities in, the future.
The research program for exploring long-term futures is being designed as a unique place in the world, where an interdisciplinary, international and cross-organisational team interacts on a continuing, networked basis to explore a diversity of possible scenarios for the long-term future and their likely implications for local strategy on the short term.