Post-pandemic Scenarios and Resources, DIY TP, Weird Futurist Trick, and more

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Volume 6,
Number 5
May 1, 2020

Foresight Resources on the Pandemic

Futurists and other international foresight strategists are developing post-pandemic scenarios, hosting webinars and discussion groups, and producing reports and guidance intended to help decision makers think past the immediate COVID-19 crisis.

  • Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies will host a webinar May 6 on “Pandemics—Existential Threats & Enablers of Change.” CIFS plans to release a report at the end of May on pandemics as both existential threats and enablers of change. CIFS has also produced a quarantine kit on “COVID-19 seen from a megatrends perspective,” in which it identifies “what we have learned from past pandemics and how we can use insights from megatrends and futures studies to understand how the current shock to our interdependent society will shape the world beyond the pandemic COVID-19.” Understanding these megatrends will help us “weather the storm” and “pave the way” to the future, CIFS says. [Learn more]
  • Fast Future is conducting a series of webinars on the coronavirus pandemic and its potential aftermath, with recaps and other relevant articles on its blog, authored by Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, and Alexandra Whittington. The target publication date for Fast Future’s next book, Aftershocks and Opportunities – Futurists Envision our Post-Pandemic Future, is June 1.
  • Institute for the Future has published three special editions of its News from the Future newsletter focusing on COVID-19 and the foresight skills needed to address it. IFTF notes “the far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are a stark reminder that global shocks will always be part of life.” Resilience skills against these shocks include seeking opportunities and stretching the imagination, it says. And imagining the post-pandemic world means getting back to the basics of thinking like a futurist, such as focusing on signals, uncovering patterns, and creating community. [Learn more]
  • The Millennium Project has dedicated a webpage to provide news updates regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic, along with links to global futurists’ actions to envision and analyze possible post-pandemic scenarios. TMP has also been asked by the American Red Cross to create second-wave COVID-19 scenarios, according to CEO and co-founder Jerome C. Glenn. [Learn more]
  • The Security and Sustainability Guide, led by former Future Survey editor Michael Marien, provides abstracts of recent relevant reports on the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will identify important reports on understanding and coping with this dangerous virus, as well as plans for less-restricted post-Covid-19 futures. Our focus will be on economic and social impacts, especially concerning health security and the Sustainable Development Goals.” [Learn more]
  • The TechCast Project has solicited insights from its networks of futurists and other professionals on the question of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the “Global Megacrisis.” Among those from whom founder Bill Halal has compiled responses are Dennis Bushnell, Jim Dator, Hazel Henderson, Sohail Inayatullah, Peter King, Julio Millan, Ruben Nelson, and David Passig. Political scientist Amy Fletcher of New Zealand advises listening “to those voices who do not have a platform and speak truth to power.” Halal adds, “The role of the futurist is to facilitate the efforts of those who lack power because the answers we need may lie with them.” See “Collective Intelligence on Solving the MegaCrisis” part 1 (April 11, 2020) and part 2 (April 20). [Learn more]
  • The Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security has released a report titled “What world post-COVID-19? Three scenarios” by Mathew J. Burrows and Peter Engelke. The three scenarios are “Great accelerator downwards,” “China first,” and “New Renaissance.” [Learn more or download PDF]
  • Academic publishers participating in Johns Hopkins University’s Project MUSE have agreed to open access to relevant content in their scholarly journals and books through the end of June. Participants include Central European University Press, MIT Press, National Bureau of Asian Research, and many other university presses. [Learn more or browse pandemic resources]

FYI DIY TP: Alternatives to Toilet Paper

Thinking ahead beyond the supplies of bathroom tissue we secured at the beginning of the pandemic, Foresight Signals has been reviewing options for that bleak time in the near future if supplies cannot easily be replenished. So, as a public (private?) service, here are a few DIY video tutorials you may wish to check out.

Editor’s top pick: “Why We Don't Use Toilet Paper & How” by Minimalism Monday (posted September 4, 2017). Soft, washable, reusable cloths offer the advantage of earth-friendliness that traditional paper options lack. A refreshing take on staying fresh.

Honorable mentions:

Revise Your Calendar

Concerns about COVID-19 have led organizers to postpone the Learning Futures | Futures of Learning 2020 conference in Helsinki, Finland, to June 7-9, 2021. The organizers—the Finland Futures Research, Finland Futures Academy, and Finnish National Agency for Education—have scheduled two free and open online meetings ahead of the conference, in June and October; programs to be announced. [Learn more]

Calls for Papers

  • The journal Futures will publish a special issue on “Futures Literacy: character, capabilities, and significance.” Guest editors Roberto Poli (University of Trento), Per M. Koch (Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education), and Geci Karuri-Sebina (University of Witwatersrand) seek papers that consider futures literacy as a wider framework of capabilities needed to face forthcoming challenges in better ways. Please read the author guidance before submitting a paper. The deadline for submissions is June 30. [Learn more]
  • The journal Regional Studies seeks papers on “Re-imagining the future: City region foresight and visioning in an era of fragmented governance.” The issue will explore how cities within their regional contexts can use foresight, futures, and visioning studies “to develop new spatial imaginaries and redefine strategic planning for both shorter and longer horizons.” The deadline is July 31 to submit a 400-word abstract to guest co-editor Tim Dixon of University of Reading, [Learn more]

Honors and Awards

  • Applications for the Next Generation Foresight Practitioner Awards are due May 31. The two award categories—the Joseph Jaworski Main Award (for individuals 18 to 35 years old) and Walkabout Prizes (for individuals or teams ages 18 to 25)—are initiatives of the School of International Futures to “recognise those helping to shape the future and improve lives through innovative strategic foresight.” [Learn more]
  • The Root has named its Young Futurists 2020 honorees in its “annual list of the 25 best and brightest young African-Americans who excel in the fields of social justice and activism, arts and culture, enterprise and corporate innovation, science and technology, and green innovation.” Among the standouts in the 2020 class are designer and entrepreneur Kamaria Warren (age 11), who founded Brown Girls Stationery when she “saw that she could only find birthday decorations featuring white princesses”; Rachel Clark (19), founder of Waves of Change, a nonprofit committed to engaging the black community in the sustainability movement through education, advocacy, and service; and Tay Anderson (21), Denver school board member, one of the youngest elected officials in the history of Colorado. [Learn more]

Blog Report: A Futurist’s “Weird Trick”

One of the key skills for foresight professionals is the ability to consider a broad range of possibilities about the future, writes environmental futurist David Bengston on the Foresight Signals Blog. But encouraging others, especially clients who are not futurists, to open their minds to such possibilities is not always easy.

“I’m always looking for creative ways to do that with the diverse audiences I work with,” he writes. “What might work for social scientists might not work for a group of silviculturalists, or recreation planners, or Tribal members, or the general public.” [Read‘One Weird Trick’ for Foresight” by David Bengston, Foresight Signals Blog (April 14, 2020).]

Addendum: Futurism’s Pioneering Women

Last month’s issue of Foresight Signals featured our recent blog article, “Futurism’s Pioneering Women.” The post was a response to a Forbes article celebrating contemporary women futurists, among whom was Italian futurist, lawyer, and sociologist Dr. Eleonora Masini, professor emeritus of social future studies at Gregorian University in Rome.

Although our article specifically omitted women whom the Forbes article already acknowledged, we heartily agree with reader Jim Dator that Masini—“without whom the World Futures Studies Federation would not exist”—should be included among the women who helped pioneer the field of futures studies. Learn more about her at WFSF and Prabook/World Biographical Encyclopedia.