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Observing Emergence

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - OBSERVE (Observing Emergence)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-05-31

In line with the mission of the FET programme the overarching aim of OBSERVE was to support Europe to grasp leadership early on in new and emerging technology areas that promise to renew the basis for European competitiveness and growth and that will make a difference for society in the decades to come.

Therefore OBSERVE set out to identify new opportunities and directions for interdisciplinary research towards new and visionary technology of any kind.

For this purpose the OBSERVE Team scanned diverse sources where novel developments are discussed, derived hypotheses of emerging changes to be adressed by research and Innovation and submitted these suggestions to an interactive futures dialogue with diverse stakeholders and experts.

The following core outcome are now available:

1. List of 171 emerging changes in science, technology and social practices documented in a report (Deliverable 1.2) and printed on a set of cards for underpinning future oriented dialogue (D4.3)
2. A Methodology Report outlining the scouting methods used to identify these items and lessons learned (Deliverable 1.3)
3. A Manual on how to use the material in strategic futures dialogues (Deliverable 4.3)
4. List of 34 emerging potential hotspots of change documented in a report (Deliverable 2.1)
5. The OBSERVE 360 Degree Radar listing and assessing all findings (Deliverable 3.1) including 17 hotspots identified in an expert workshop
6. A Roadshow with poster, cards and ppt presentation demonstrating the key findings in a visual Format (Deliverable 4.7)
7. Three user birefs presenting selected outcomes for potential users (Deliverable 4.4-4.6)
"As foreseen in the workprogramme, OBSERVE has implemented a bottom-up Horizon Scanning process using four different and complementary screening methods (WP1) combining manual and semi-automatic approaches.
In this scanning process a set of 171 emerging topics of different types ranging from cutting edge technologies to social practices were identified. These topics were presented in a structured framework within the Horizon Scanning Report (Deliverable D1.2) which is available on the OBSERVE Website.

To facilitate the use of the ""emerging topics"" by diverse actors in strategic processes were presented in a deck of cards which is available on the website for download along with a manual suggesting possible formats for such strategic processes (Deliverable 4.3)

The OBSERVE scanning methodology including lessons learned were documented in detail in the OBSERVE Methodology Report (D1.3).
In parallel, the portfolio of FET projects was analysed and the results documented in Deliverable 1.1 the FET Portfolio Report.

As foreseen, the findings were reviewd by the OBSERVE Advisory Board and the outcomes documented (Deliverable 5.1.). Following the advice of the board the structure of the reporting and process were adapted.

The design of the Sense-Making Phase (WP2) was slightly reconfigured in order to align it with the ongoing FET activities especially the FET Proactive communication.

Within the synthesis phase (Task 2.1) the 171 topics identified in the scanning phase were clustered into 34 ""Clusters of emerging Change"". These clusters were desribed in the Hotspot Report (Deliverable 2.2) submitted to the FET Proactive consultation and also documented in short form within the OBSERVE User Brief (Deliverable 4.4) as we reckoned that they could be of wider interest to diverse actors such as national funders, industry and civil society organisations.

In a next step an analysis was carried out comparing the OBSERVE findings with the submissions to the FET proactive consultation. This resulted in a set of 36 joint Clusters which will then be fed into a next round of FET consultations rather than launching an independent OBSERVE online survey as originally foreseen.

These Clusters formed the basis for a creative sense making Workshops were actors from diverse disciplines from physics and mathematics to art, design and architecture developed potential Topics suitable for FET Proactive funding.
In parallel the 36 potential hotspot Clusters were assessed with respect to Impact Level, publication Level and diversity of sources. The approach was presented in user bried 3 (Deliverable 4.6)

All findings and assessments were documented within the OBSERVE 360 Degree Radar (Deliverable 3.1)

Material for a Roadshow was developed where the findings are provided in a visual Format for use in exhibitions and interactive future dialogues (Deliverable 4.2)

We expect to contribute to the following impacts outlined in the FET workprogramme:

1. Improved long-term innovation potential in Europe both from the abundance of novel ideas and the range of actors ready to take them forward.

In this impact dimension we expect OBSERVE to make a major contribution. It will be achieved through the establishment of the observatory which will bring to the fore this abundance of novel ideas and mobilise the more than 60 actors directly involved in the rolling process of observation and assessment further several hundred actors involved through the multi-actor online dialogue and many more that will be indirectly involved through the outreach activities. One highly relevant means of achieving this impact will be the close linkage of the observatory with the FET Proactive programme where some of the issues identified through the observatory may be taken up.

2. European thought-leadership on new and emerging technologies with a strong engagement of scientists, citizens, innovators and policy makers.

Thought leadership is closely connected with the ability to embrace novelty and to identify novel groundbreaking ideas. The establishment of the rolling process of the observatory will substantially enhance this ability in Europe. Thereby we expect OBSERVE to make a difference in this impact dimension.

Strong engagement of different actors is something that cannot be enforced but will emerge from a process of participatory agenda setting where these actors are empowered to jointly develop shared ideas across silos and perspectives. OBSERVE provides a platform for such participatory agenda setting both through the workshops and the online dialogue. Moreover the OBSERVE process will provide a starting point for further processes of collective intelligence gathering involving an even broader range of stakeholder and thus continuously increasing the momentum of FET. The extensive documentation of the methodology and lessons learned that is foreseen in OBSERVE will allow FET to establish the Observatory as a rolling process throughout H2020 and beyond.

3. Improved readiness across Europe to engage in silo-breaking research collaboration and to take up new research and innovation practices.

The OBSERVE 360° Radar will highlight a set of issues with outstanding potential for benefits for both society and industry that will need to be addressed by silo-breaking research coalitions and new research and innovation practices. As researchers and governments across Europe are currently striving to establish transformative research programmes with such far reaching benefits we expect that these issues will be readily taken up and inspire new collaborations across Europe.
OBSERVE Roadshow Poster
Use of OBSERVE Cards for System mapping (Deliverable 4.3)
Overview of OBSERVE project workplan