Author: Stefanie Ollenburg (FREIE)

One of the challenges in the beFORE project in Work Package 1 (WP1) was to extract and examine the main competences relevant in the education of Futures Literacy. The review of higher educational offers, best business practices, and literature in the field of Foresight, Futures Studies, and Entrepreneurship brought up a list of 39 competences considered relevant for future-orientated entrepreneurs but varying in their granularity. It was narrowed down to 14 competences keeping the wording of their original source and therefore some were rather general where others seemed too specific ( e.g.: “To think out of the box” versus “to define, identify and analyse trends within micro- and macro-environment of the company”). Therefore, the beFORE project team agreed to re-examine the competences. For this exercise, the choice needed to be widened again and it was agreed to revisit the previous 39 items for further assessment.

In a first step the items were re-evaluated considering competence , target groups, and time frame. For this purpose FREIE, developed a matrix divided into four quadrants, i.e. Cognitive competence (knowledge), Functional competence (technical abilities), Personal competence (social skills), and Ethical competence (self-assessment skills)[1].

On the vertical axis, the items were plotted according to the learning-objectives of each target group. For students, who take in knowledge it would be the goal to understand Foresight and Futures Studies. Entrepreneurs should understand the matter but mainly they have the need to apply the knowledge. Educators should understand, apply but mainly have the goal to educate and teach others in Foresight and Futures Studies.

On the horizontal axis, time was used as a reference considering how each competence relates to future-awareness, decision-making, present as well as future actions on a personal, organizational, or global level. We chose the division of short-term (under 5 year), medium-term (5 to 20 years), long-term (20 + years).

This matrix (s. fig 1) was the foundation for an online-workshop via video-conferencing with most beFORE partners participating, moderated by FREIE. As a qualitative evaluation and mapping tool the purpose was to further reflect on the individual competences and relating them to each other. Positioning each competence on the matrix entailed a detailed explanation of each item by BUT, the lead on WP1, as well as exchanging views with the participating partners. In this process, an agreement on the position in the matrix for each competence had to be found.

The mapping-procedure revealed that some competences are only relevant in short-term orientation but have no effect on medium- or long-term futures and others may be significant for general education in entrepreneurship but not for Futures Literacy. These were marked in grey and agreed to be excluded for further evaluation.

The resulting pool of competences was the outset for a second step, conducted by the partner, UNIPI. The objective was to receive a list of differentiating competences having the same level of granularity. The phrases of competences left from the mapping results were pulled apart, skimmed, deleted of duplicates, and compared to the O*NET Database[2] (for details see WP1 Report pg. 74 – 77). This procedure establishes a final list of 57 competences as atoms extracted from the previous online-mapping-workshop result. In addition, the O*NET Database provides distinct categories and definitions. Ton finalize the process with the discretion of WP2 lead, ITeE, the fellows BUT and FREIE, as well as in agreement with all partners the O*NET Database descriptions were used to cluster, manually sort, and filter the list.  Resulting in the extraction of 12 relevant competences in Futures Literacy. These will be examined further by respondents in the needs analysis survey of Work Package 2 (WP2).

In the beFORE project an interdisciplinary team comes together offering various perspectives, from strategic foresight, Futures Studies, entrepreneurship, and management. Therefore, the discussions in the online-mapping-workshop as well as the following debates helped to get an overall understanding of the different views related to the competences. As the project’s target groups are also divers, keeping the different perspectives in mind, may eventually support the projects goal to develop an effective e-learning platform emitting Futures Literacy.

Fig 1. Matrix for Online-Mapping Workshop WP1 beFORE project

[1] Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 o on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (2008/c111/01/EC).