Published on July 23, 2014
INTERACTIVE SESSION ON GAPS, RESEARCH NEEDS, END-USER TOOLS Dr Angela Wilkinson
An emerging policy agenda: new economic challenges • Connect challenges • Cross scale interactions • Distributions matter (not an averages world) • Multi-dimensional policy frameworks: • Analysis of policy trade-offs, synergies • Attention to policy alignment and coherence • Big Data? • Quality of anticipation: one future or many? Implications for climate adaptation research, tools and methods? Ref: OECD NAEC Initiative
Questions that frame choice of methods and tools? • Meta framing: – What is the nature of the universe (material and mechanistic, living universe)? – Is the nature of the climate change adaptation challenge a wicked-problem, requiring post normal science? – Is policy only concerned with the resource limitations of the current economic model, “the collision with nature”? Or are we concerned with the broader issue of redefining progress i.e. a new narrative beyond growth? • Process design: – Is ‘our’ objective to find tools and methods to evolve a comprehensive road map that could provide a blueprint of steps and efforts needed to adapt to the global challenges (top-down) or to develop new approaches to the problems of human development (bottom up). Or to mash different systems perspectives? – What is the policy making process; who are the policy stakeholders; do new tools and methods imply a redesign of the existing process and practices? • Decision support: – What economic theory do we have to deal with the adaptation challenge: economics of stability/equilibrium or economics of innovation/resilience/transformation? – Is there a new economic accord: something after the Washington Consensus frame of good policy? • Can an emphasis on ‘what works’ avoid instrumentalism and policy ‘lock in’? – It is possible to avoid the trap of over-relying on deterministic causal logics to engage deep uncertainty and thus identify new opportunities and threats? – What new ‘recipes’ are acceptable to policymakers: can we inform safe-fail approaches? – How to take on new agendas – anti-fragility, resilience
Foresight: one future or many? • Adaption requires actionable foresight: anticipatory knowledge, adaptive capacity and improvisation – Connection deficits (policy silos, vested interests) – Emerging risk governance – Policy innovation and prototyping: learning-by-doing – Causes effects and is an ontological aspect of living systems – Worldview shift: from stability and variability to flow and temporary – Future as cultural ‘fact’ – imagination, anticipation, inspiration • Futures methods and tools are diverse, but mastery with mixed methods is rare! – Horizon scanning, scenarios, visioning and back casting – Many different types of models and approached to modelling: formal models, clay modelling, soft and hard systems thinking – Big Data, narrative analytics, evolutionary models are reshaping the toolkit • Foresight-into-policy is a social process; users and uses matter – Different starting points, not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ world – Purposes vary: restore or transform the ‘system’ reflect different future ontologies – Avoiding the implementation gap: purposeful design and co-creation/-production logics are key – Take care: clarify notions of what is meant by ‘strategy’ and ‘policy’ processes and identify links • Scenarios – a misunderstood approach but offer huge potential – Ontological role of scenarios – generating, representing, curating to narrating knowledge – Diversity within scenarios: • Realist futures (conjectural, Bell); • Constructivist futures (knowledge connected to communities, coproduced in interaction, Dator) – Reframing role: epistemic security from paradigms to reflexivity, from evidence to sensitivity, knowledge about futures to relationships with futures – Exposing deeply held assumptions by working with a manageable set of alternative futures – Social processes for forging new common ground that engages and respects differences – Narrative and numbers – Platforms for building social capital and developing new strategic vocabulary OECD Strategic Foresight Upgrade
Deeper assumptions/shifting worldviews: the futures of the science system! Source: ICSU International Science in 2031 (2011) Success scenario/vision: • Responding to societal challenges is a key part of research agendas • Science is thriving and appreciated in all its diversity • Broadening the disciplinary base • Public appreciation and engagement have become integral to the way science operates • Scientific integrity helps ensure public trust • New mechanisms for planning and managing science • Policy-making is more participatory and open with science making a valued contribution • Scientific capability and resources are a truly global asset
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Rebecca Wilkinson-Blanc. Policy Advisor at Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Locatie Canada Bedrijfstak Olie en energie