beFORE partners contributed workshops on futures and innovation.

Aveniture GmbH and Freie Universität Berlin, the German research partners in the beFORE Project, both contributed on October 11th and 12th, 2018 in Berlin their separate workshops at the annual conference of the Netzwerk Zukunftsforschung e.V., the association for scientific Futures Studies in German-speaking countries and a network partner in the beFORE project. The topic of this conference was “Futures Research and the Governance of Innovation”, focusing on the role of foresight in innovation processes and the demand for structures in governance for comprehensive transformation. These were discussed using the topics of mobility and sustainability as examples.

Aveniture’s K. Christoph Keller led an amazing open-innovation workshop about the highly controversial topic “individual air mobility” using LEGO™ SERIOUS PLAY™ methods and materials. Aveniture´s team member and Foresight Solutions´s Bernhard Albert created a scenario lab on a “Future without Diesel,” delivering intense reflection and mental impulses for corporate mobility management. Institut Futur’s research fellow Stefanie Ollenburg and Miriam Chrosch both from the Freie Universität Berlin conducted a magnificent workshop titled “Futures Literacy meets Design(erly) Thinking – Mobility in 2040 in Suburban and Country-side Areas”. In it they used tools from Design Thinking to enhance the participants understanding on multiple futures and the importance of different points of view on a topic.

All three workshops provided a convincing demonstration on how to transfer and embed successfully the ways of thinking, attitudes, and methods of Futures Studies to innovation and transformation processes. It emphasizes once again the importance of systematically developing foresight for medium-term to long-term future developments. Foresight is a key approach to avoid overlooking important issues such as the inherent dynamics in systems of politics, administration, business, science, society and technology. The same is true for the mental models used by change agents to whom thinking about and shaping the future is an omnipresent commonplace but usually not leading to any action-guiding concept of analysis and implementation. A non-surprising reality, as these actors are deeply involved in their day-to-day business as the consequence to their extensive responsibilities.

One conclusion of the conference was, that foresight is not only a prerequisite for successful innovation, but also highly relevant to the resulting transformation processes, e.g. the transition away from fossil fuels and towards e-mobility.