Assessing foresight to advance management of complex global problems

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dc.contributor.author Berze, Ottilia E.
dc.date.accessioned 2019-04-15T17:43:30Z
dc.date.available 2019-04-15T17:43:30Z
dc.date.copyright 2019 en_US
dc.date.issued 2019-04-15
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/10713
dc.description.abstract Many people do not like thinking about the future. If they do, over 50% of Canadians think “our way of life” (p. 7) will end within 100 years and over 80% of Canadians think “we need to change our worldview and way of life if we are to create a better future for the world” (Randle & Eckersley, 2015, p. 9). There is a good reason for this. Alarms have sounded over global urgent complex problems with potential for catastrophic consequences such as the development of artificial intelligence, climate change, mass extinction, nuclear war and pandemics (Marien & Halal, 2011). Society is also increasingly fragmenting as imminent crises build on lack of understanding, the sense of incapacity to act, fear, distrust, blame and a lack of hope. This struggle for humanity’s survival is complicated by the turbulent global environment in which institutions continue to follow path-dependent trajectories set forth in a different time and context. Governments at various levels face a problem of “fit” between current structures and processes, that have not progressed sufficiently to meet changing needs of a global society mired in complexity and governance challenges. However, hope exists. Incremental progress on many fronts and a massive amount of efforts and resources are being engaged worldwide. There are emerging fields, lenses and tools that can potentially alleviate complex problems and address this emergency. The purpose of this dissertation is to understand and assess dialogue-based foresight practices being applied towards complex problems in Canada to provide insights into how these practices can assist society to alleviate global urgent complex problems and their impacts, within this backdrop of looming crises. Foresight, alternatively known as future studies or scenario-building, is a forward-looking practice recognized and used globally with over 100 research organizations focused on foresight, widespread usage by firms and over 18 countries involved in foresight activities (Berze, 2014b). Overall literature findings suggest foresight is widely and at least incrementally effective with a number of impacts in various areas (Calof, Miller, & Jackson, 2012; March, Therond, & Leenhardt, 2012; Meissner, Gokhberg, & Sokolov, 2013) but the extent of this effectiveness, the mechanisms involved, and the specific foresight benefits per type of project needs further research and evidence. For instance, limited literature exists on whether foresight can transform complex situations and if so, under what conditions. Thus, opportunities exist for assessing and increasing foresight’s impact. This dissertation is a contextualized, systematic empirical study that taps into transdisciplinary literature and practice, case studies of how foresight has been used to address specific types of complex problems in Canada, as well as surveys and interviews with foresight experts and participants. This dissertation uses a foresight community scan and a comparative case study approach to provide practical and theoretical benefits to foresight and complex problem area stakeholders. The research focuses on studying the broad interactions of foresight and identifying the impacts of dialogue-based foresight projects on people and the outcomes of complex problems. The dissertation concludes that dialogue-based foresight is a valuable and unique practice for ameliorating complex problems and their consequences. Insights are offered towards dialogue-based foresight’s potential contributions within the context of other efforts directed at humanity’s struggle for survival and global complex problems. These insights can then foster the further development and application of dialogue-based foresight on a global scale to alleviate complex problems and their effects. The dissertation outlines recommendations on key next steps to realize these potential contributions. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject foresight en_US
dc.subject dialogue-based en_US
dc.subject complex en_US
dc.subject global en_US
dc.subject problems en_US
dc.subject empirical en_US
dc.subject transdisciplinary en_US
dc.subject crisis en_US
dc.subject comparative en_US
dc.subject cases en_US
dc.subject comparative case study en_US
dc.subject hope en_US
dc.subject practice en_US
dc.subject community en_US
dc.subject Canada en_US
dc.subject projects en_US
dc.subject impact en_US
dc.subject value en_US
dc.subject futures en_US
dc.subject scenario en_US
dc.subject future en_US
dc.subject role en_US
dc.subject wicked problems en_US
dc.subject transformative en_US
dc.subject complexity en_US
dc.subject interviews en_US
dc.subject urgent en_US
dc.subject lens en_US
dc.subject mechanisms en_US
dc.subject assessment en_US
dc.subject well-being en_US
dc.subject strengthening en_US
dc.subject improving en_US
dc.subject concepts en_US
dc.subject types en_US
dc.subject foresight benefits en_US
dc.subject contribution analysis en_US
dc.subject tools en_US
dc.subject approaches en_US
dc.subject mainstream en_US
dc.subject barriers en_US
dc.subject Fore-CAN en_US
dc.subject Georgia Basin en_US
dc.subject Global Energy Landscape en_US
dc.subject Agricultural Adaptation en_US
dc.subject Canadian Payment System en_US
dc.subject 2020 Media Futures en_US
dc.subject systems en_US
dc.subject digital en_US
dc.subject climate change en_US
dc.subject infectious diseases en_US
dc.subject sustainability en_US
dc.subject coping en_US
dc.subject transitioning en_US
dc.subject recommendations en_US
dc.subject multi-perspective en_US
dc.subject dialogue en_US
dc.subject conflict resolution en_US
dc.subject collaboration en_US
dc.subject diversity en_US
dc.subject outcomes en_US
dc.subject invest en_US
dc.subject context en_US
dc.subject contributions en_US
dc.subject efforts en_US
dc.subject innovation en_US
dc.subject cognitive en_US
dc.subject social en_US
dc.subject understanding en_US
dc.subject foresight literacy en_US
dc.subject anticipation en_US
dc.subject futures literacy en_US
dc.title Assessing foresight to advance management of complex global problems en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Althaus, Catherine
dc.degree.department School of Public Administration en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US

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