Final Report Summary - IKNOW (Interconnecting knowledge for the early identification of issues, events and developments (...) shaping and shaking the future of STI in the ERA)
IKNOW is one of six Blue Sky foresight research projects funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and technology development (RTD) under the Socio-economic sciences and humanities (SSH) theme. The project is aimed at interconnecting knowledge on issues and developments potentially shaking or shaping the future of Science, technology and innovation (STI) in Europe and the world.
There is a general consensus that the kinds of issues addressed by IKNOW have often remained out of the 'policy radar' and so far have received little attention in forward-looking activities: the identification and analysis of wild (WI) cards and weak (WE) signals and their effects on European and national science, STI policy. WI cards are the kind of issues that can potentially shake our future; WE relate to issues that are currently shaping it.
WI cards are high impact and low perceived probability events (e.g. unexpected systems failures or sudden transformations resulting from breakthrough or incremental innovations). WI cards are often presented as negative events, such as the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States or the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. However, they can also be positive such as the discovery of penicillin by Fleming.
WE signals are ambiguous events, often referred to as 'seeds of change', providing advance intelligence or 'hints' about potentially important futures, including WI cards, challenges and opportunities. WE signals lie in the eye of the beholder and are generally influenced by the mental frameworks and subjective interpretations of individuals with limited information about emerging trends, developments or issues in a particular time and context. Their 'weakness' is directly proportional to levels of uncertainty about their interpretations, importance and implications in the short-medium to long-term. Thus, WE signals are unclear observables warning us about the possibility of future 'game changing' events.
Overall, IKNOW has two interconnected objectives:
1. to develop and pilot conceptual and methodological frameworks to identify and analyse WI-WE; and
2. to assess the implications and impact of selected WI-WE on, STI and key dimensions of the European Research Area (ERA). To do so, IKNOW has used Foresight and Horizon Scanning (FHS) approaches to support the research and technology development (RTD) agenda associated with each objective.
Foresight is a systematic, participatory, prospective and policy-oriented process which, with the support of environmental and horizon scanning approaches, is aimed to actively engage key stakeholders into a wide range of activities 'Anticipating, recommending and transforming' (ART) 'Technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical' (TEEPSE) futures.
Horizon scanning (HS) is a structured and continuous activity aimed to 'Monitor, analyse and position' (MAP) 'frontier issues' that are relevant for policy, research and strategic agendas. The types of issues mapped by HS include new / emerging: trends, policies, practices, stakeholders, services, products, technologies, behaviours, attitudes, 'surprises' (WI) and 'seeds of change' (WE).
All in all, IKNOW provides a unique application of WI card and WE signal approaches to the study of grand challenges and thematic research priorities of the European Union. The project addresses 21 grand challenges in terms of their European relevance; their research foresight and Wild approach; and their potential research outcomes and benefits. A selection of WI cards and WE signals are also outlined in relation to each grand challenge. IKNOW also offers an overview of 11 thematic research areas, emerging themes and 'policy alerts' with 44 research recommendations on key issues potentially shaping European science and innovation. Another important scientific and technological result is the IKNOW ERA toolkit. The IKNOW ERA Toolkit on 'Applications of WI cards and WE signals to the grand challenges and thematic priorities of the ERA' aims to be a source of reference and inspiration, for all those involved with ERA.
Project context and objectives:
It should be recalled that the overall aim of the IKNOW project is to elucidate and examine events and developments that can influence the future of science, STI and STI policy in the ERA. Some may be potentially shaking influences (WI cards) and some might be shaping influences (weak signals); thus WI cards are likely to shake our potential STI futures while WE signals are likely to shape them.
More particularly, IKNOW is aimed at:
- developing conceptual and methodological frameworks to identify, classify, cluster and analyse WI cards and WE signals;
- assessing WI-WE implications and expected impact on key dimensions of the ERA Vision (such as researchers mobility, research infrastructures, research institutions or knowledge sharing).
To do so, IKNOW has used new Foresight and Horizon Scanning (FHS) concepts and approaches to support the RTD agenda associated with each objective.
- Foresight is a systematic, participatory, prospective and policy-oriented process which, with the support of environmental and horizon scanning approaches, is aimed to actively engage key stakeholders into a wide range of activities 'Anticipating, recommending and transforming' (ART) 'Technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical' (TEEPSE) futures.
- HS is a structured and continuous activity aimed to 'Monitor, analyse and position' (MAP) 'frontier issues' that are relevant for policy, research and strategic agendas. The types of issues mapped by HS include new / emerging: trends, policies, practices, stakeholders, services, products, technologies, behaviours, attitudes, 'surprises' (WI cards) and 'seeds of change' (WE signals).
At the outset, three qualifications are in order:
Firstly, IKNOW is an RTD project. As such, it used 'network innovation' approaches or an open model where internal (within the IKNOW team) and external (extended IKNOW community) ideas were combined to create a collaborative and bottom-up 'innovation radar' system. Such voluntary and participatory element of the IKNOW web-based system should be able to continue informing and networking the innovation, foresight and horizon scanning communities in Europe and the world.
Secondly, IKNOW focused on the analysis of selected STI issues shaking (WI cards) or shaping (weak signals) the future of priority areas of EC's FP7 for research and technology development including: health, agro-food and biotechnology, information and communication technologies; nanotechnology and materials, energy, environment, transport, social sciences and humanities, space, and security.
Finally, IKNOW considered two time horizons for the assessment of importance, relevance for policymaking and potential impact of selected issues by 2020 (shorter-term) and beyond 2020 (longer-term). This approach proved rather useful to engage a wide range of stakeholders, including research, business and policy and civil society actors.
Approach and methodology of IKNOW
In order to achieve the objectives of the project, IKNOW partners recognised the need for a concrete research space. Given that it would be unrealistic to assume that IKNOW will research the whole WI-WE space, which includes the vast and immeasurable universe of codified and tacit knowledge. We decided to begin our research in a space that would satisfy the Blue Sky call criteria of:
1. indicating where European research policy must be pro-active;
2. anticipating important changes in the European research system;
3. revealing issues which are just emerging or not yet visible on the policy radar, but could have far-reaching implications for European S&T in the long run.
Thus, one sensible research space to look for (scan) WE signals and envisage WI cards was the existing population of FP7-funded projects. These projects should, in principle, help us to elucidate and examine emerging issues and developments 'not yet in the policy radar' and potentially shaping or shaking the future of science, STI in ERA.
But the EC FP7 is only one of the many elements of the 15 % slice related to research programmes conceived, developed and implemented through intergovernmental organisations. Taking the wide-ranging nature of European research programmes into account, the project's scanning strategy for 2009 covered the majority of specific programmes of the EC FP7. In so doing, IKNOW has been acting as a catalyst for the identification of interdisciplinary research issues that are relevant for science, STI policy in Europe.
To achieve a more global reach, we developed four horizon scanning strategies combining the following approaches: top-down (project and sponsor driven), bottom-up (STI community driven), inward-looking (exploring issues related to EC-funded research) and outward-looking (exploring issues related to other sources of knowledge different from EC-funded research).
Four horizon scanning strategies were developed and combined to identify, generate and systematise key issues (including WI cards and WE signals) shaping the future of STI in Europe.
- ILTD or inward-looking top-down. This has so far involved the scanning of over 3 000 EC-funded research projects. The scanning work was carried out by 'designated' IKNOW project members.
- OLTD or outward-looking top-down. This involved the scanning of a wide range of knowledge sources 'outside' the European research space. The scanning was carried out by 'designated scanners' analysing websites, blogs, news, journal articles, official reports, science fiction books.
- ILBU or inward-looking bottom-up. This has involved the scanning of other 'EC-funded research' but with the voluntary help of IKNOW Community members who, in some cases, lead or participate in other EU initiatives (e.g. INFU project).
- OLBU or outward-looking bottom-up. This has involved the scanning of knowledge sources 'outside' the European research space, with the voluntary help of IKNOW Community members.
In addition to the above-mentioned environmental / horizon scanning strategies, IKNOW involved 1700+ players in a multi-approach methodology including 14 methods.
The project was divided into 5 practical phases:
- In the scoping phase of the project (months 1-6) we used literature reviews and scanning techniques. These methods helped us to develop conceptual and methodological frameworks to research WI cards and weak signals.
- In the mobilising phase (ongoing through the live of the project) we used workshops and web-based crowdsourcing to mobilise over 500 experts. These methods were instrumental for the successful implementation of our bottom-up strategies (see ILBU and OLBU above).
- In the anticipating phase (month 6-18) we used TEEPSE Analysis of technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical issues; wi analysis; WE signal analysis; surveys; interviews, brainstorming sessions, and science fictioning sessions. These methods helped us to identify 1 000+ issues potentially shaking or shaping the future of STI.
- In the recommending phase (month 18-30) we used Delphi survey and expert panels. These methods took a normative approach to prioritise a set of 120 issues (60 WI cards and 60 weak signals). Research recommendations were drawn and presented in the form of 44 policy briefs and an ERA toolkit on 21 grand challenges and emerging issues associated to the thematic areas of the EC FP7.
- In the transforming phase (month 30-36) we used conferences to disseminate key results and achieve new outcomes, including: capacities and skills, priorities and strategies, paradigms and current visions, socio-economic and STI systems, behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles, and knowledge-based products and services.
Main S&T results
IKNOW has had two objectives and here we review those goals and identify what we believe to be the key achievements of IKNOW.
Objective 1: To develop conceptual and methodological frameworks to identify, classify, cluster and analyse WI cards and WE signals.
In terms of new conceptual frameworks to identify, classify, cluster and analyse WI cards and weak signals, IKNOW positioned the SMART FUTURES Jigsaw as a practical tool to map and manage key elements of Forward-looking activities (FLA), foresight and horizon scanning (FHS).
The new conceptual basis for mapping forward-looking activities (FLA) is represented in the SMART Futures Jigsaw (Popper, 2011). The Jigsaw contains 36 elements, i.e. 33 dimensions characterising the three main aspects of FLA, practices, players and outcomes. Thus, the Jigsaw was used to design and manage the FHS activities of the IKNOW project; and (b) to support the European foresight platform (EFP) with the mapping of the scoping, mobilising, anticipating, recommending and transforming phases of FLA in Europe and the world.
IKNOW also positioned a new definition for weak signals. WE signals are often referred to as 'seeds of change', providing advance intelligence or "hints" about potentially important futures, e.g. Wi, challenges and opportunities. WE signals lie in the eye of the beholder and are often influenced by the mental frameworks and subjective interpretations of individuals with limited information about emerging trends, developments or issues in a particular time and context. Their 'weakness' is directly proportional to levels of uncertainty about their interpretations, importance and implications in the short-medium-to-long-term. WE signals are unclear observables warning us about the possibility of future 'game changing' events (Popper, 2011).
In terms of new methodological frameworks, the four horizon scanning strategies described earlier (ILTD, OLTD, ILBU and OLBU) are key methodological contributions. However, the most important methodological results are undoubtedly the 7 technological tools developed and interconnected in the IKNOW platform:
1. iBank (to characterise and store forward-looking issues, i.e. wi & weak signals), http://bank.IKNOWfutures.eu;
2. iScan (to monitor and search forward-looking issues and WI-WE), http://scan.IKNOWfutures.eu;
3. iDelphi (to assess and prioritise forward-looking issues and WI-WE), http://delphi.IKNOWfutures.eu;
4. iLibrary (to share innovation and forward-looking documents and WI-WE), http://library.IKNOWfutures.eu;
5. iCommunity (to engage and network innovation and forward-looking people), http://community.IKNOWfutures.eu;
6. iNews (to feature key contributions to IKNOW's forward-looking systems), http://news.IKNOWfutures.eu;
7. iOracle (to map forward-looking practices, players and outcomes - in collaboration with the mapping activities of EFP), http://oracle.IKNOWfutures.eu
In addition, IKNOW developed practical methodological framework to be used at workshops for the identification, classification, clustering and analysis of WI-WE.
Another important methodological contribution was the development of key indicators to assess the level of uncertainty and potential impact of forward-looking issues.
Objective 2: To analyse WI-WE implications and expected impact on key dimensions of the ERA vision.
The collection of IKNOW policy alerts (deliverable 3.2) is a major scientific and technological result in terms of the analysis of WI-WE implications and expected impact on key dimensions of the ERA Vision. Bellow you can see the list of the 44 policy briefs included in the report.
List of Blue Sky Policy Alerts included in the IKNOW policy alert report.
Blue sky policy alert 01 - Killer Virus.
Blue sky policy alert 02 - Body parts on Demand.
Blue sky policy alert 03 - Nervous breakdown of society.
Blue sky policy alert 04 - Scientists up for murder as ethical issues are abolished.
Blue sky policy alert 05 - Traditional European medicine.
Blue sky policy alert 06 - Wheat crisis hits humans and animals.
Blue sky policy alert 07 - Total rejection of the Internet of things.
Blue sky policy alert 08 - Universal electronic systems breakdown.
Blue sky policy alert 09 - Invisibility spray.
Blue sky policy alert 10 - Pervasive self-diagnosis and self-treatment.
Blue sky policy alert 11 - Reduction in human diversity?
Blue sky policy alert 12 - Don't put in the trash: tank your car and warm up your home.
Blue Sky Policy Alert 13 - Outburst of the black economy.
Blue sky policy alert 14 - Floods in Europe cause mass migration.
Blue sky policy alert 15 - Minimum flight distance introduced.
Blue sky policy alert 16 - Inner cities are closed for private cars.
Blue sky policy alert 17 - Towards the utopia.
Blue sky policy alert 18 - Empowerment of women.
Blue sky policy alert 19 - New pro-war president elected in the US.
Blue sky policy alert 20 - Critical information infrastructure collapsed: Back to the 80s!
Blue sky policy alert 21 - The rise of a new world.
Blue sky policy alert 22 - The poor old.
Blue sky policy alert 23 - Total control by Big Brother technologies.
Blue sky policy alert 24 - Robots and iCare for the Aged.
Blue sky policy alert 25 - iBrain vs. brain point.
Blue sky policy alert 26 - 3D media trustworthily copying reality.
Blue sky policy alert 27 - Free time society in Europe.
Blue sky policy alert 28 - EC scrap research support projects.
Blue sky policy alert 29 - Cyber crusade: Massive e-sabotage by hacktivists.
Blue sky policy alert 30 - Israel and Palestine are admitted to the EU.
Blue sky policy alert 31 - Nano-lab inside your body.
Blue sky policy alert 32 - The lottery: the way to the perfect world.
Blue sky policy alert 33 - The great tide: a new planet.
Blue sky policy alert 34 - Major EU state elects neo-fascist leader.
Blue sky policy alert 35 - China's investment and services great wall.
Blue sky policy alert 36 - abrupt disintegration of the euro zone.
blue sky policy alert 37 - Transhumanism becomes a significant force.
Blue sky policy alert 37 - Rise of Africa.
Blue sky policy alert 38 - First contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.
Blue sky policy alert 39 - Individual nano-enabled safety capsule.
Blue sky policy alert 40 - Revolutionary space propulsion.
Blue sky policy alert 41 - Female-centric projects a turn-off for women.
Blue sky policy alert 42 - Universities close as research does not meet industry needs.
Blue sky policy alert 43 - Severe accident of a nuclear power plant.
Blue sky policy alert 44 - Entering new energy era.
Another important scientific and technological result is the IKNOW ERA toolkit (deliverable 9.1). The ERA toolkit on 'Applications of WI cards and WE signals to the grand challenges and thematic priorities of ERA' aims to be a source of reference and inspiration, for all those involved with the ERA. The grand challenges agenda requires actions on a substantial scale in order to truly make a difference to the fortunes of its economies and the lives of its citizens. Hopefully, this Toolkit can also contribute to overcoming what the ERA Expert Group saw as a lack of drive, direction and imagination among Europe's political actors to achieve these ends. Part I offers a research agenda for 22 European grand challenges; Part 2 analyses some WI-WE implications and expected impact on 11 thematic areas of the EC FP7; part II focuses on the use of WI-WE in STI policy and the ERA agenda.
But, how to apply WI-WE to the ERA? How to use WI-WE resources in STI policy? And, what kinds of STI policy and which questions? Here we look at the beginning and end of the cycle of knowledge. The context is a world which is increasingly interconnected, turbulent, and vulnerable to wild card surprises; and a STI agenda which needs to respond to this. The key question here is - how does the wild approach and the WI-WE resource contribute to the generation and management of knowledge? Revolving around this question is a wide range of activity, including:
- STI policy: European, national, corporate;
research programming and management: European, national, corporate;
- research methods within and between in many fields, at the level of programs and projects;
- knowledge management systems: including scientific, corporate, public and civil society types of knowledge;
- foresight processes and foresight related knowledge, in many types of organisations.
There are wide implications for STI policy of the wild approach and WI-WE resources. Some conceptual issues are set out below; but first there are quite practical questions, such as:
- What topics to research? - Shifting towards the frontier of problematic knowledge - technically, socially, etc.
- Who are the researchers? - And the producers / users of such research: questioning explicit and tacit forms of engagement between different parts of the knowledge community.
- How to programme research? - And how to manage, validate, disseminate and evaluate research results: i.e. to explore unconventional paths for knowledge generation and transfer, with explicit and tacit forms of engagement between the knowledge community.
How to apply WI-WE to policy and practice? - In a world which is increasingly interconnected, turbulent, and vulnerable to wild card surprises; and a STI policy which needs to respond to this.
Paradigm shifts and the wild approach
Meanwhile, the higher levels of science and research policy, are beginning to point in similar directions. There is a paradigm shift in the nature of scientific knowledge, and the STI systems which surround it. This can be framed as a 'co-evolutionary approach' to STI, and the policies which aim to support it. This broad concept can be mapped onto a 'knowledge space', again with some interesting dynamics to explore:
If we are lucky enough to enjoy 'safe' knowledge and 'safe' outcomes, we can practice 'normal science', using 'convergent' research modes. This is pictured in the lower left hand corner. This can work with clearly defined problems, peer-reviewed theory and methodology, robust models and datasets, and falsifiable hypotheses.
But for many problems, particularly anything which raises policy issues or socio-political-ethical debates or dilemmas, the 'safe' criteria do not work very well. So we can see 'science for policy' as an unstable position, where often the expectations do not meet with the available resources.
So there is an inevitable shift into the opposite corner, on the upper right. Here we have 'wild' knowledge and 'wild' outcomes, leading to 'divergent' research modes. Here there are fuzzy, multi-level, interconnected problems: high levels of uncertainty and conflict in values and stakeholders; multiple competing theories and methodologies; often a gaping lack of evidence; research processes which can only be mobilised through stakeholder debate. This is summed up with the concept of 'post-normal science'. However this corner is also unstable, struggling with wild problems and profound ignorance.
The shift is then to the 'co-evolutionary science' corner. This aims at creative responses to wild outcomes, through application of wild knowledge into shared intelligence. In practical terms, this avoids drawing a boundary around 'science' or 'research'; rather it looks at the extended chains of knowledge and cognitive processes, across the whole of society, of which scientific knowledge is one component.
Such 'co-evolutionary' science requires creative responses to complex and interconnected 'agendas', where problems, opportunities, conflicts, responses, each start to overlap and interconnect. This co-evolutionary approach sees extended co-production of knowledge across wider networks of stakeholder learning and policy innovation, on the lines of the 'DIPSI' model (discursive, inclusive, participative, sustainability, interactive). It looks at research processes and results as multi-level learning pathways. It sees research users and policy-makers as part of a larger system of networked learning and shared intelligence. It sees policy systems themselves, and policy-knowledge combined systems, as more focused on the agenda for systemic resilience, adaptive capacity, shared intelligence and learning capacity.
This position also tends to continue along the cycle, back to the starting point, when the shared intelligence becomes 'normal' and mainstream for all involved.
In this way the agenda and operation of science is not only about 'discovering facts' and 'proving theories'. It is more about designing human systems which can learn and innovate with the benefit of active learning (in which facts and theories are a useful part). This is very clear in the recent developments of ERA based research, for instance in the FP7 thematic work programmes.
Overall, the Wild approach has much to offer this co-evolutionary model, based in wild knowledge and wild outcomes. Following that, the WI-WE methods and tools, are essential resources for exploring this challenging and creative 'knowledge space'.
How to apply WI-WE to research management?
Within a typical research program or thematic specification, there are some trends which involve the Wild approach:
- There is a general shift of 'typical' programs and projects towards a WI-WE focus (i.e. with wild, problematic, high impact issues of systemic change). These include the well-known risks of natural disasters, technology hazards; they also include social, economic, cultural, political, ethical issues, which each involve 'wicked' problems.
- The implication is that systematic WI-WE methods and tools should be built as a regular feature into mainstream research program specifications and methodologies.
- This would set out guidelines as sketched in this chapter, for systematic exploration of the frontiers between 'wild' and 'safe' areas of knowledge. It also prioritises the interconnection of different types of knowledge from different areas.
- This also involves application of the research results, in feedback to the WI-WE end of the policy spectrum. This should raise the questions of risk assessment and strategic planning above - i.e. what problematic events, changes, hazards are plausible or significant, and what WE signals would be relevant and useful?
Which topics are informed by WI-WE resources?
The selection of research topics and project design is also informed by the WI-WE resources. ERA is increasingly formed around cross-cutting themes, wicked systemic problems, and new modes of trans-disciplinary action research working. So the topics and methodologies are likely to take on:
- More conventional WI-WE type events: natural disasters, technology hazards, which are likely to be amplified by socio-cultural-political factors. So there is a research agenda which is focused on this amplification process through its socio-cultural-political factors.
- Less unconventional WI-WE events: new and surprising combinations of various factors, e.g. technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical factors, which are generally more problematic and paradigm changing.
- Systematic use of WI-WE at the pre-programming stage of scoping and scanning.
- Use of WI-WE for interconnecting knowledge between 'Grand Challenges' and other levels;
- Use of WI-WE to mobilise debate between stakeholders with different views on issues in the domain of problematic knowledge;
- Reference from and contribution to the IKNOW system, as the context for research agenda setting, design and programming.
How to apply WI-WE to the STI policy process?
STI applications need a structure which is as clear as possible, to navigate through knowledge development processes, which are often complex and fuzzy. Again, we use here the general foresight structure (here titled 'divergence, emergence, convergence'), as tailored to a typical general process of STI policy-making. There are different applications of the WI-WE resources at each stage, which may come from the IKNOW platform or other sources.
'Agendas': horizons and boundaries: policy scope and resources
- general WI cards to test policy scope and system boundaries;
- wide scan to inform horizons, scope, strengths and weaknesses.
'Divergence': Explore possible futures and capacities
- specific WI cards, to explore possible futures and capacities;
- Thematic scan to support scenarios and stakeholder analysis.
- 'Emergence': Develop pathways and approaches to STI policy
- pathways tested with social / technical / conceptual 'wild' thinking;
- scan for vulnerability, resilience, opportunities and threats.
'Convergence': roadmaps, strategies, policies, assessments
- strategy 'wind-tunnel' testing by further wild card application;
- scan for roadmap and strategy testing, assessment evidence.
'Actions': programme management monitoring, evaluation
- periodic testing of management, monitoring and evaluation;
- continuing monitoring and evaluation cycle.
WI-WE applications to the ERA agenda
Within ERA research programme area:
- general shift towards 'divergent' and 'co-evolutionary' modes of research;
- systematic use of WI-WE at the pre-programming stage of scoping and scanning;
- use of WI-WE for interconnecting knowledge between 'grand challenges' and other levels;
- reference from and contribution to IKNOW's iBank and iLibrary platforms as the context for general research scoping, design and programming;
- use of WI-WE to mobilise stakeholders with different views on problematic knowledge.
For example - consider a research programme centred on the theme of post 2008 financial stability.
- Obvious WI card 'situation' (i.e. family of interconnected WI cards) - global credit crisis, Eurozone crisis, public deficit crisis; with most WE signals systematically ignored and filtered out, systemic risk driven by moral hazard incentives.
- Need to involve stakeholders in active mode, systematically exploring possible WI-WE, testing the frontiers of the 'problematic' knowledge zone.
- Research programme results should be improved and enlarged from the conventional economic and financial focus (which arguably was part of the problem).
- Research project design goes beyond the convergent mode, to the divergent and co-evolutionary modes.
How to develop and manage research projects?
Within a typical ERA project:
- General shift of 'typical' projects towards a WI-WE focus (i.e. problematic high impact issues of systemic change). Although not necessarily conventional risks of natural disasters, technology hazards.
- Systematic WI-WE exploration to be built into 'typical' research methodology.
- Exploring the frontiers of 'safe' knowledge and 'problematic' knowledge.
- Interconnection of different knowledge from different areas.
- Reference from and contribution to IKNOW's iBank and iLibrary as the context for specific research.
- Application of the research results back to the WI-WE end of the spectrum - i.e. asking what problematic events, changes and hazards are plausible and significant. And what WE signals would be useful?
In the ERA context, the grand challenges each raise an agenda with a combination of:
- More conventional WI card events and hazards - natural / technological disasters which are likely to be amplified by socio-cultural-political factors. So there is a research agenda which is focused on this amplification process through its socio-cultural-political factors.
- More unconventional Wild Card events and hazards - new and surprising combinations of various factors e.g. technological, economic, environmental, political, social and ethical factors, which are generally more problematic and paradigm changing.
It should be clear that the IKNOW project is deliberately path-finding, looking towards the frontiers of knowledge, and anticipating new ways for research to produce knowledge. So this report does not aim to be fixed and final. Rather it is a series of sketches towards an agenda which is rapidly evolving.
This is very much in the spirit of the IKNOW system. This platform provides, at least a working prototype, of the kind of knowledge system which is needed.
The following stages of such a knowledge system would aim to include a wider range of aspirations:
- Social technology: self-organising, co-evolutionary, crowd-sourced, continuously evolving, with peer community expertise and evaluation.
- Interconnected between a wide range of different disciplines, professions, policy areas and public agendas.
- Capacity to form extended knowledge chains and value chains for shared intelligence: both for analysis of problems, and for development of opportunities and solutions.
- Accessible to different social groups and knowledge communities, with a range of multiple media.
In this spirit, we look forward to returning with the next version of the IKNOW project in the near future.
The IKNOW research, technology development and management activities have led to the following impacts:
- raising the profile of WI card and WE signal research in Europe and the world;
- identifying important WI-WE impacts on ERA and European innovation system;
- revealing the importance of global, regional (European) and national WI-WE analysis;
- creating an European and global debate on WI-WE monitoring, analysis and positioning;
- creating a powerful knowledge base informing researchers, managers and policymakers;
- creating a powerful pilot platform potentially becoming an issue management system;
- creating a system supporting the mapping activities of the EFP;
- creating a spin-off company providing IT solutions for research and innovation systems;
- creating a new horizon scanning system for the centre for workforce intelligence (CfWI).
Raising the profile of WI card and WE signal research in Europe and the world. IKNOW resulted in a deeper knowledge and a higher awareness among scholars, management, and policy makers concerning one major - and increasingly important - area of concern: early identification and improved understanding of WI card and WE signal. Before the IKNOW project, WI-WE, the backbone of challenging futures, have not yet been systematically analysed nor have conceptual and methodological frameworks been developed. The IKNOW project contributed to clarify how this engagement can foster long-term policy-making and thus strategic future intelligence in Europe. In addition, IKNOW helped to show how the non-engagement or inadequate engagement in WI-WE research can harm the originality and creativity of Foresight activities and robustness of long-term policy processes.
Identifying important WI-WE impacts on ERA and European innovation system. The IKNOW project contributed to a better understanding of how WI-WE impacts upon ERA - and thus on the European innovation system. It has sharpened our view on the different characteristics of WI cards and associated WE signals.
Revealing the importance of global, regional (European) and national WI-WE analysis. The cross-country analysis (IKNOW national studies report and the Delphi analysis) enabled us to assess the importance of country contexts and at the same time the similarities of ERA dimensions, challenges and opportunities related to selected WI-WE. As different types of countries were covered, insights were more easily generalised for specific types of national - and regional - situations.
Creating a European and global debate on WI-WE monitoring, analysis and positioning. The project filled an academic gap in the study of WI-WE, and filled a gap in the general, sector specific and policy specific discourse both on low probability futures and high impact or disrupting events/developments. This discourse needs to be much more informed, transparent, livelier, and above all, much more European.
Creating a powerful knowledge base informing researchers, managers and policymakers. IKNOW provided a powerful instrument for management and policy makers alike, given that WI-WE are a major source of inspiration and warming in decision making.
Creating a powerful pilot platform potentially becoming an issue management system. IKNOW was a pilot and experimental study. It did and could not aim to deliver everything to everybody. Other important issues related to the ERA might still have other kinds of challenges and opportunities; other countries and regions might appear to be too specific to derive too much of lessons for their situation. Still, not only do we think that the approach taken and the interplay of methods covered a lot of ground and enabled a lot of generalisation and comparison, we have deliberately focused on WI-WE related to the ERA and the FP7 thematic areas just because awareness here seems to be much too limited across business and policy. Finally, we took a first step into cross-country analysis that could and should be applied to further country analysis. The data and insights gained and method applied could be transformed to a much larger set of constellations and issues.
Creating a system supporting the mapping activities of EFP. The IKNOW iOracle system (http://oracle.IKNOWfutures.eu) is the underlying technology supporting the FLA mapping of EFP mapping environment.
Creating a spin-off company providing IT solutions for research and innovation systems. The experience of the IKNOW project created a growing demand for similar WI-WE systems at national and sectoral levels. Thus, a couple of weeks before the end of the IKNOW project, the UK CfWI requested a re-engineered and customised version of the IKNOW system to meet the workforce planning needs of the UK Department of Health. As a result, Futures Diamond (FD) - http://www.futuresdiamond.com - was set up in Czech Republic as an innovation systems company specialised in the provision of customised Information technology (IT) and software solutions to government, business, research and education actors at local, national and international levels. The first contract of FD involved the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) of the University of Manchester (Research), CfWI-Mouchel (Business) and the UK Department of Health (Government) with the aim of building a horizon scanning system for CfWI (see below).
Creating a new horizon scanning system for CfWI. IKNOW system and methodology have also driven the development of the CfWI Horizon Scanning Platform, which is aimed to monitor, analyse and position frontier issues that are relevant for workforce policy, research and strategic agendas. The types of issues mapped in the HS Platform include: trends, policies, practices, stakeholders, services, products, technologies, behaviours, attitudes, 'surprises' (WI cards) and 'seeds of change' (WE signals). In addition, the HS platform functions as a living knowledge base capable of mapping forward-looking initiatives in terms of their practices, players (or stakeholders) and outcomes. The types of initiatives mapped in the HS Platform include: foresight, forecasting, horizon scanning and impact assessment projects or programmes related to the health and social care sectors in the UK, Europe and the world. The HS Platform is currently under construction using a networked innovation approach, which involves: (1) the active collaboration of the extended HS team (CfWI, The University of Manchester and Futures Diamond); and (2) the active engagement of key stakeholders and potential users of the HS Platform. Our 'network innovation' approach involves 'an open model where both internal (within the extended HS team) and external ideas are combined to create a more collaborative advantage' in workforce planning (Chesbrough, 2003). To this end, the CfWI organised a workshop in November 2011 with the participation of over 20 key stakeholders involved in workforce decisions in the health and social care sectors in the United Kingdom.
Other national or international research activities
IKNOW has collaborated and engaged with other European and non-European activities (see also dissemination section 5.3 below) in the field. In particular we have engaged with a number of other FP7 foresight projects as follows:
ATEsT - A EC Coordination and support action (CSA) project 'analysing transition planning and systemic energy planning tools for the implementation of the energy technology information system'. The ATEsT models characterisation report analysed 85 models and concluded 'qualitative methodologies, such as HorizonScan and IKNOW represent the only appropriate tool to analyse the risks involved in research activities from a long-term perspective'.
SCOOP - IKNOW was featured in the SCOOP project, which is aimed to support the efforts of the research community to reach policy makers and facilitate the flow of information from the research community to other interested audiences, thereby supporting evidence-based policymaking. The IKNOW article in SCOOP is titled Harnessing IT to enhance foresight activities, available at http://www.scoopproject.org.uk/harnessing-it-to-enhance-foresight-activities.aspx
SANDERA, a project addressing the future interaction of security and defence research and the ERA. Here IKNOW provided input for the literature analysis of SANDERA and for the workshops organised by SANDERA. In turn, SANDERA experts participated in the IKNOW workshops and Delphi surveys.
EFP project - IKNOW has contributed to the EFP activities. An EFP policy workshop was organised based on 'Policy options for surprising and emerging issues' (26/10/2011, Brussels). IKNOW provided key inputs for the workshop methodology structure, background material and final workshop report. IKNOW has supported EFP mapping by adapting the iOracle (http://oracle.IKNOWfutures.eu) into the EFP mapping environment.
FESTOS - a project funded under the FP7 'Security research' theme and dealing with the identification and response to security threats due to the abuse of technology. IKNOW provided methodological input for the generation of wild scenarios and FESTOS team member actively contributed to the generation of WI cards and WE signals.
INFU Foresight project - IKNOW WI card and WE signal methodology were used by the INFU project team to identify and 'amplify' (analyse) selected WE signals on innovation futures in Europe. In addition, INFU mapped over 20 innovation-related WEin the iBank - (http://bank.IKNOWfutures.eu).
AUGUR Europe and the world in 2030. The IKNOW project was presented at an AUGUR workshop in Brussels.
TAFI - Towards a future Internet - a project on the future of the internet and the interrelation between technological, social and economic trends funded by DG Information Society and Media. IKNOW provided several WI-WE inputs to the TAFI research activities and methodological support in the TAFI Delphi survey. The contributions from IKNOW are reflected in the TAFI report at http://www.internetfutures.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/TAFI-Final-Report.pdf
TelMap - An EC FP7 (IST-257822) prepared a report on WE signal collection. The project presents the IKNOW Delphi as a potential hosted solution for WEsurveys.
Due to the considerable interest in IKNOW from the scientific, policy and business communities we started our dissemination activities during the previous periods of the project. In the final term of the project we intensified these activities in order to stimulate debate and dialogue in every single one of the three aforementioned communities and among them, thereby, contributing to the emergence of new policy networks.
Throughout the project the IKNOW team aimed through a variety of means to maximise its potential policy impact, in particular by carrying the following tasks:
- IKNOW website http://www.IKNOWfutures.eu was and is used as a channel to publish deliverables from the project and to inform about IKNOW events and research outcomes. More importantly, a community of 1,700+ members has brought together professionals interested in innovation, foresight and horizon scanning. Between 2010-2011 there were 142 842 pages viewed. The quality of the visits on the site is rather high, as the time spent shows: every visitor spends an average of 50 minutes per stay on the website. More information on the website is provided below under 4.3.
- A WI-WE analysis workshops conducted on the futures of ERA and developed in WP3 and subsequent work packages. There were three types of workshops, namely national workshops organised by IKNOW research partners, Delphi workshops organised by UNIMAN, and ad hoc workshops organised by other actors interested in IKNOW, such as the UK node of the MILLENIUM project and UK FAN, for example. Through these workshops we raised the profile of IKNOW not only in the academic community but also clarified its relevance for the policy and business communities.
- Several newspaper articles and references in research/policy milieu, for example: in the German weekly Die Zeit and the daily Financial Times Deutschland featured IKNOW and made it accessible to the wider public. The German mass media ZDF.de Heute Magazin also featured an article about IKNOW.
- The IKNOW results have been presented in keynotes at major events, e.g. fifth German innovation summit in Munich (http://www.innovation-network.net/).
During the reporting period we have intensified our dissemination activities. In particular through the following measures:
- The Final IKNOW conference held in October 2011 in Brussels brought together 68 experts from Europe, northern and southern America. It provided a forum at which the results of the scenario exercise were presented and debated by stakeholders. Through the participation of experts from think tanks and various European and national institutions we hope to integrate IKNOW into the European policy agenda both for the ERA and for foresight.
- The project and its methodology were presented at numerous academic conferences such as the FTA in Seville in May 2011; the R&D management conference in Manchester June 2010; the RUSNANO conferences 2009, 2010 and 2011, UK centre for workforce intelligence conferences in London and Leeds 2011, amongst others.
- Academic publications in the Russian journal 'foresight' and a forthcoming special issue of technological forecasting and social change (TFSC 2012). But most importantly, there are already 15 references to IKNOW in 15 journal articles in Google scholar.
- Briefings about IKNOW to important policy, business and research stakeholders in several cities across the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Israel, Belgium and in Europe. A list of these briefings is enclosed in appendix 6.2 to this report. These briefings - also known as IKNOW policy alerts - were based on workshop results, Delphi survey findings and selected outcomes of the 66 interviews conducted in the project.
- Under the leadership of UNINAN the team explicated the lessons of the project concerning how to conceptualise, categorise, assess and use WI cards and WE signals. The project team drew on interactions with policymakers and conducted enquiries in order to determine how best to present these results so that they can inform decisions about ERA. The results are presented in form of various reports.
- The IKNOW team produced a number of professionally designed reports, which were printed in hard copy and distributed among the participants of the Final IKNOW conference. These are in particular:
a) executive report; b) national report;
c) interviews report;
d) ERA toolkit; e) moreover, the team produced a practical guide to WI and WE signals.
- Cooperation with other FP7 foresight projects has been pivotal for the success of IKNOW: importantly, IKNOW has provided input for projects such as the EFP, with FESTOS (a project on threats from emerging technology), INFU (on future innovation systems) and SANDERA (on the interaction between civil and security research/defence). This provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the IKNOW results and methodologies with other experts working on EU funded projects.
- The cooperation with EFP is specifically fruitful. Not only will we be able to present IKNOW through an EFP Brief but more important we will provide technological compatibility between the two projects. For example, IKNOW developed a platform called iOracle which supports the mapping of forward-looking activities and will be the basis for the EFP mapping environment - see http://oracle.IKNOWfutures.eu.
Beyond the end of the project, several IKNOW partners have already or intend to conduct activities that will foster the emergence of new policy networks that cross the divide between the foresight, horizon scanning and STI policy and research communities.
- a workshop organised in Valencia (Spain) in December 2011;
- a similar workshop planned to take place in Alicante in December 2011;
- a keynote presentation at the fifth Germany innovation summit in February 2012.
- IKNOW policy alerts is a collection of 44 policy briefs with research recommendations;
- IKNOW ERA toolkit providing a framework for policy audiences to assess the implications of the analysis for ERA futures;
- IKNOW Interviews is a collection of 66 interviews to STI, FLA and ERA experts;
- IKNOW National Studies provides executive summaries of case studies conduced in 5 countries: Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel and United Kingdom;
- IKNOW practical guide to WI cards and WE signals, providing a framework for foresight practitioners and users to arguing for, selecting and using WI-WE analysis;
- A key dissemination tool has been the project website, which was set up during the first reporting period (http://www.IKNOWfutureres.eu). Its impact is best represented with a comparison of the web-presence of 20 futures initiatives.
Finally, in box 3 (in the report) we include a selection of the most important engagement and dissemination activities in over a dozen cities and involving 1600+ people. These events covered all areas of EC FP7 and type of audiences shows the multi-actor approach of the IKNOW project.
List of websites: http://www.IKNOWfutures.eu