Foresight

Published by Emerald
Print ISSN: 1463-6689
Publications
Purpose – This paper aims to present an assessment framework which captures the essential characteristics and holistic success factors for disruptive innovation based on the original theory of Christensen, a number of clarifications as reported in the literature and a study of known, successful cases in the literature. Design/methodology/approach – The framework was designed based on the improved understanding of disruptive innovation challenges and on the holistic consideration of innovation as a dynamic process. It consists of structured questions which could be used to guide detailed data collection and analysis needed to answer the key questions which constitute the assessment framework. They are grouped under market positioning, technology and other favourable drivers. Findings – A simple yet comprehensive assessment framework for disruptive innovation has been developed. Two of the known successful cases, namely the steel minimill of Nucor and the 3.5 inch disk drive of Conner/Seagate, were presented in more detail to illustrate the use of this systematic framework in assessing the success potential of these cases of disruptive innovations in either the low‐end or new markets. A third and fairly new example, that of the limited mobile phone system/product of UTStarcom, was then presented to illustrate a case where the framework revealed reasons for potential failure. A fourth example of Google's web‐based office applications then illustrated how the framework might be used to study the disruptive potential of a new product. Originality/value – This paper enables a more accurate and systematic assessment of disruptive innovation. The framework also has the potential to be further developed into a systematic tool for answering the question of whether the disruptive innovation theory could indeed be used to provide ex ante prediction of the success of a new disruptive innovation.
 
Mobile communication has grown out of its original scope and scale. Mobile operators have played a significant role in this phenomenon. Since the mobile operator business is highly regulated, the effects of regulation on the industry have been analyzed. The potential effects in the years up to 2015 are also considered. The aim of this paper is to discuss the possibilities of a futures-oriented method - i.e. the Delphi method, to estimate the effect of regulation on the mobile operator business. The challenge is that the method was originally created to assess experts' opinions about the course of development of a certain technology or phenomenon in the future and then, by using a scenario technique, to draw conclusions about its possible futures. Now the Delphi method is also being used to estimate past development, i.e. experts' opinions of the causes and effects of laws and other regulations in the past few decades. The paper forms a part of a larger study, the aim of which is to analyze the effects of changes in the regulatory framework for the mobile operator industry in Finland. According to this research the ultimate goals of the regulator, set as early as in the middle of the 1980s, have been actualized: In Finland there are several competing nationwide mobile operators and the use of mobile phones is cheap compared to many other countries.
 
The Keys to the White House is a historically based model that has forecast well ahead of time the winners of every presidential election from 1984 through 2004. The theory behind the Keys is that presidential election results turn primarily on the performance of the party controlling the White House, and that politics as usual by the challenging candidate will have no impact on results. In this update of his earlier Keys article in Foresight, Allan Lichtman discusses why the Keys model predicts a Democratic Party takeover of the White House in 2008. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2007
 
Using findings from empirical-based comparisons, the author presents nine generalizations that can improve forecast accuracy. These are often ignored by organizations, so that attention to them offers substantial opportunities for gain. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2005
 
Key Steps in the Tracking Process 
While considerable attention has been paid to the measurement of forecast accuracy for individual items at particular points in time, issues around an aggregated forecast-accuracy metric and its tracking over time still present opportunities for discussion. Jim Hoover talks about why organizations have neglected the task of tracking forecast accuracy and offers a step-by-step guide for getting back on the track. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009
 
Stephan Kolassa and Wolfgang Schütz provide a careful look at the ratio MAD/Mean, which has been proposed as a substitute metric for the MAPE in the case of intermittent demand series. They explain how MAD/Mean can be viewed as a weighted mean of absolute percentage errors and thus as a weighted alternative to MAPE. They describe several advantages of MAD/Mean to the MAPE including applicability to inventory decisions, absence of bias in method selection, and suitability for series with intermittent as well as near-zero demands. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2007
 
Prevailing wisdom has it that campaigns don’t matter when it comes to forecasting U.S. presidential elections; the incorporation of direct campaign measures into statistical forecasting models does not appear to improve forecasting accuracy. Richard Nadeau and Michael Lewis-Beck now challenge that assertion, based on consideration of the quality and clarity of a candidate’s campaign. They find small but statistically significant campaign effects that can affect the outcome in an otherwise close election. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2012
 
In their ongoing investigation into corporate forecasting practices, Robert Fildes and Paul Goodwin have uncovered evidence of excessive use of judgmental adjustment to statistical forecasts. In this report, they document the extent of the problem within four large companies, explore the motivations that lead business forecasters to this sometimes counter-productive behavior, and offer a series of recommendations to ensure that forecast adjustments are made for the right reasons. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2007
 
With the November 2008 U.S. presidential election looming, Randall and Alfred describe the enduring forecasting models that have been created by economists and political scientists for predicting the results of this quadrennial ritual. The most stable models since 1996 have consistently forecast the election winner, with an average error of less than 3%. While not all of the players have issued their forecasts for this year’s final vote, the models suggest that the outlook for the Republican Party is negative. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2008
 
Game playing has been defined as the intentional manipulation of a forecasting process to gain personal, group, or corporate advantage. And the consequences can be severe. John Mello provides a fascinating description of the games forecasters can play, identifying the organizational environments that can foster game playing, and recommending a variety of policies to discourage continuation of the practice. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009
 
Many studies have pointed to the possibility of substantial benefits from collaboration among supply-chain partners, including information sharing - one form of which is the sharing of forecast information (FIS). In this article, Mohammad Ali and John Boylan report the substantial and specific benefits of FIS found in their study of two large companies: a European supermarket and a U.S. hardware manufacturer. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2010
 
Paul Goodwin reports on recent research into the theory that combining forecasts from different methods or sources can result in greater forecast accuracy. He cites studies by George Kapetanios, as well as several other researchers, to support the conclusion that "combining forecasts is certainly worth a long, close look." Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009
 
Paul Goodwin’s latest Hot New Research Column is very appropriate for the summer season. He reports on a recent paper by Haiyan Song and Gang Li, who reviewed research into tourism forecasting published in 121 articles since 2000. Paul also refers to another recently published paper by Sedat Yuksel, who describes a method for forecasting monthly demand at a five-star hotel in Ankara. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2008
 
Spare parts generate high sales margins and improve customer loyalty by extending the useful life of base products. Forecasting and managing the spare-parts business is challenging, however, due in no small measure to short life cycles and long support life for the base products. At Hewlett-Packard, the Replacement Parts Business (RPB) was challenged by shortages that drove customers to competing parts suppliers. To deal with this threat, an HP team refined the company’s forecasting methodology. This paper describes the business issues involved and the forecasting processes developed. Of particular methodological interest is their approach to (a) choosing between monthly and quarterly forecasts, (b) adjusting the historical data for price/promotion effects, and (c) combining regression and time-series forecasts. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009
 
In their previous Foresight article (Winter 2009), Alec Finney and Martin Joseph described the Forecasting Mantra, the elements of which guide the proper creation and presentation of the forecast. Now they employ the Mantra as a basis for an audit of an organization’s forecasting performance. The audit reveals problems with the process, enables the prioritizing of new investments in process improvement, and helps a company avoid overspending. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2011
 
Effect of Small vs. Large Random Variation  
Authors Rob Hyndman and Andrey Kostenko discuss the bare minimum data requirements for fitting three common types of seasonal models: regression with seasonal dummies, exponential smoothing, and ARIMA. Achieving the requisite minimum numbers, however, does not ensure adequate estimates of seasonality. The amount of additional data required depends on the amount of noise (random variation) in the data. Unfortunately, there are no simple rules about sample size, and the authors note that published tables on sample size requirements are overly simplified. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2007
 
Many of us make judgmental adjustments to statistical forecasts. But do these improve accuracy? Paul Goodwin explains when you should avoid the temptation to adjust and shows how the accuracy of your interventions can be improved. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2005
 
Forecasting recessions is fraught with difficulties: we never know if we are in recession until long after one has started. This makes it all the more important to try to predict in advance the likelihood of recession, so that businesses can plan accordingly. Peter takes us inside the economist's crystal ball, identifying key indicators of economic recession and how they can be combined into a predictive model. The model forecasts a difficult 2009. Copyright International Institute of Forecasters, 2009
 
Purpose – To shape a futures agenda for future executives. Design/methodology/approach – Identifies and examines five future leadership foci: globality, technology, talent development and retention, innovation, and professional development and training. Findings – The position of CEO needs to be reinvented and to move in the direction of hybrid competencies. Originality/value – All future executives will have to be futurists and learning leaders.
 
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare the projections of future war by a talented illustrator with the true materialization of conflicts. Design/methodology/approach - The paper traces Albert Robida's sequential narrative, using a selection of imaginative pictures to demonstrate the artist's range of anticipation. Findings - The paper finds that the illustrator's visualization proved to be uncanny in its accuracy of projection. Originality/value - Robida managed to be not only well ahead of his time; the accuracy of his foresight was largely exact from the point of view of feasible technology.
 
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the reasons, especially the assertions about the future, given by the US administration under President Reagan, to justify the decision to attack and invade the Caribbean island of Grenada. Design/methodology/approach - The methodology is analysis of existing records and reports on the assertions, events, and decisions leading to the invasion. Findings - The Reagan administration gave three main reasons for the invasion. They claimed that Americans on Grenada, particularly the students attending the St George's University Medical School, would be harmed from continuing social disruption on Grenada; that the militarization of Grenada was intended as a means for the future export of terrorism or revolution to its Caribbean neighbors; and that the planned international airport at Point Salines was intended to be a future Soviet-Cuban military base. Each was false. Research limitations/implications - Decision making includes assumptions about the future and invites the use of foresight. Such foresight, of course, can be presumptively true and, thus, useful. But also it can be wrong, sometimes deliberately manipulated, leading to wrongheaded actions and devastating consequences. Practical implications - An analysis of the 1983 American invasion of Grenada illustrates the power of authority to distort the truth and corrupt morality, processes that re-occurred 20 years later with much greater consequences in the case of the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq. Originality/value - The case study of the American invasion of Grenada can be used by decision makers and others to improve future decision-making situations. Before doing violence to other people, we need to ask what violence we are doing to truth.
 
In my last column I talked about the difficulties futurists have with the bottom line. This time, I want to explore the reasons why. A primary reason, I'll submit, is that practitioners of foresight are 'different' from the corporate citizens they serve. Take this personally, because that is how it's meant.
 
Forewarned is forearmed, they say. Yet there are still those who think the Millennium Bug went away on its own. In those circumstances, how can futures studies ever convince government and industry of its worth? Maybe with a bit of old-fashioned marketing, offering tailored solutions and measurable benefits.
 
Dutch World Economic Forum ranking and score in Global Competitiveness over time 
The connection between innovation and the future 
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to analyze the future-orientation of the Dutch innovation system and formulate recommendations to improve it. Design/methodology/approach - The approach takes the form of in-depth interviews with Dutch experts who are sufficiently independent to formulate relevant, interesting, and deviating opinions. Findings - Dutch managers are quite reluctant to look at the future. They seem to favor the short term above the long term. Research limitations/implications - Consulting additional experts might yield more and more validated results. Practical implications - Dutch companies should do more about turning a future vision into concrete decisions and actions. Social implications - It is necessary to appoint a specific Minister for Innovation and the Dutch government should support the entire innovation process and not just the beginning. Originality/value - This is the first analysis of the future-orientation of the Dutch innovation system.
 
Purpose – To present the degree to which futurists (inadvertently perhaps) encourage future avoidance or deflection. Design/methodology/approach – Identifies instances and examples of future deflection and avoidance attributable to the misplaced zeal of forecasters. Findings – Proposes five strategies futurists can use to turn avoidance into acceptance. Originality/value – To call attention to the negative impacts of forecasters and forecasts on audiences and to suggest ways to eliminate or limit such audience alienation.
 
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to identify banks' strategies in turning uncertainty into opportunities. Design/methodology/approach - Longitudinal analysis from 1990 until 2009 has been conducted to evidence factors affecting environmental uncertainty in the European banking industry and how banks have perceived and reacted to it. Findings - The paper evidences banks' strategies in situations of low and medium levels of uncertainty and suggests some behavior to face a high level of crisis. Practical implications - The paper defines a general framework, based on banks' perception and reaction to uncertainty, that can help banks to become champions in facing the current level of uncertainty. Originality/value - The paper presents a critical analysis of how to face the enormous increase of uncertainty that the financial sector is experiencing.
 
This special issue of foresight presents a collection of articles which examine the use of national foresight methodologies in defining long-term objectives in a variety of technology areas. The articles originate from work carried out by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), a Seville-based think-tank of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission on behalf of the Comision Interministerial de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CICYT) - Oficina de Ciencia y Tecnologia (OCYT). This was part of the preparation of the 4th Spanish R&D programme.
 
Social transitions are usually easier to identify after they have taken place. In particular, the changes from one era to another are often invisible for the people who are living through them. The challenge of futures thinking has been to foresee and understand the changes before they happen. Social changes come in various forms. Societies themselves are constantly undergoing variations, as is only natural since they are dynamic systems. Some of these changes are not worth the label 'transition', but some apparently are. As we understand it, social transition is a collection of changes that span many aspects of society. A transition is something that takes place in the economy, politics, social system and culture. The more aspects of the society that are involved, the better grounds we have for using the term transition.
 
Sustainable development 
Kennovation and complementary behaviour leading to double helix wisdom 
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore beyond the knowledge economy and venture into the wise society. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is a review of existing publications and original thinking. Findings - The word is at the dawn of the wise society. Science and universities have a crucial role to play on the path towards such a society. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the understanding and the development from knowledge to wisdom.
 
Possibility space diagrams of transition scale changes in key technological, economic, social and governance variables 
Synergy conditions for transition scale change: technological, economic, social and governance dynamism 
The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between equity and schooling in a post-industrial society using a scenario of the learning intensive society. The method used here, but not elaborated as such, is based on a "hybrid strategic scenario method" that is a technique for building "futures literacy". The article offers a scenario in which industrial era schooling may be incompatible with post-industrial heterarchical equity. By questioning the role of schools in developing the capacities necessary for post-industrial society this article calls for an examination of emergent alternatives. Both the method and conclusions are distinctive and may be valuable for strategic conversations aimed at questioning the assumptions that shape decisions made today.
 
The mantra in the corporation today is speed, speed, speed. Everybody is talking about the need to get to market faster. The big driver of this infatuation is the emergence, or fear of, the 'dot.coms'. Big, slow, lumbering corporations, especially those that sell physical goods (as unprogressive as that is) are tying themselves to the speed whipping post and giving themselves a good daily lashing (they're looking for ways to speed up the lashing process, in fear that once again, they'll lag their speedy dot.com brethren).
 
Like many futurists, I use trends as a fundamental building block in my corporate foresight activities. Everybody, more or less, understands trends, even the time-pressed, attention-span-deprived corporate audience. But I am often asked: where do your trends come from, where are your data, or how did you arrive at this vision of the future?; as if there is some kind of trends superstore at which we go shopping. You have probably heard or even asked questions like these many times yourself. I have never found them easy to answer, and I have always felt guilty about that. As professional futurists, shouldn't we be able to answer these kinds of questions in our sleep?
 
The impact of public-private partnerships does not necessarily translate into the commercial success of new products and process. It is acknowledged that the European Union is in many aspects the most appropriate level at which to achieve effective cooperation and networks between science, technology and commerce. In order to maximize social and economic benefits the 5th Framework programme for research has had to move towards a more issue-oriented stance, taking in account socioeconomic needs rather than purely technological objectives.
 
Purpose - The objective of this paper is to probe the extent of confidence and trust in oneself, in others, and in the future when devising plans and strategy. Design/methodology/approach - The paper evokes specific incidents, past and present, marking the bases of confidence sustained, abandoned, or disregarded. Findings - This paper presents examples of outcomes that may be overlaid on readers' current exercises in planning or scenario development. Originality/value - This is an example of the continuing value of analyses in retrostrategy: understanding how/why a future-oriented scheme is succeeding, failing, or having indifferent effect.
 
With technology in overdrive and business clamouring for solutions, it's time for futurism to develop as a science. That means majoring on methodology and soft-pedalling on personality. After all, isn't genius one part inspiration, ninety-nine parts perspiration?
 
Purpose â–“ The purpose is to report on a Danish nano-science and nano-technology foresight project carried out in 2004. Design/methodology/approach â–“ The foresight process had the following key elements: review of international technology foresight projects on nano-technology; mapping of Danish nano-science and nano-technology; broad internet survey among interested parties; expert reports; workshops related to the expert reports; analysis of the dynamics of innovation within nano-technology; survey on hazards and environmental and ethical aspects; group interviews with members of the public. Findings â–“ The article reflects on the following methodological issues: domain classification and its influence on conclusions; the use of statements or hypotheses; trustworthiness of the foresight process and its recommendations. Practical implications â–“ Recommendations from the project have already been used in decision-making on R&D funding and in strategic deliberation in publicly funded institutions conducting R&D. Others are expected to be used for decision-making, and some are being discussed in research councils and ministries or are being investigated and developed further. Moreover, the foresight process has created broader awareness of, and debate especially about, the hazardous aspects of nano-technology among researchers and decision makers. Originality/value â–“ The article contribute the to the European experiences with national level foresight exercises. The case and the findings are of value for science and innovation policy makers, foresight practitioners and scolars within the field.
 
Purpose - This paper aims to describe three major difficulties with dealing with the future. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is an essay with limited use of literature. Findings - Looking to the future is difficult due to cognitive, social, business problems. Research limitations/implications - No empirical research was conducted. Practical implications - Suggests that more practical training in futures research and testing ideas and plans against future trends is required. Originality/value - The paper provides a broad view on difficulties of dealing with the future.
 
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate with examples the prudence of using or not using ample precautions before launching a strategy or plan of foresight. Design/methodology/approach - A series of practical episodes illustrate the effects of predetermined care and precaution, or their absence, in different fields of human endeavour. Findings - With foresight and determination, pondered safeguards may spell out beforehand the success or failure of an undertaking. Research limitations/implications - According to the span and scope of available historical experience, getting the future right often seems more difficult than getting it wrong, Originality/value - Planners, strategists and designers should profit from the types of cases reviewed to ensure the solidity of their procedural foresight today for its implementation tomorrow.
 
Purpose – To identify emerging education alternatives to traditional higher education. Design/methodology/approach – To survey and examine three types of alternative providers. Findings – To demonstrate that there are now at least two major providers of professional development in the market. Originality/value – To posit a more complicated and competitive future for higher education but also to note the prospect of convergence.
 
Erik Bohlin was Program Coordinator for the conference, 'Towards a Sustainable Information Society for the 21st Century - Strategies, Policies and Research Actions'. Here he introduces selected and revised presentations from the conference, which reflect a broad and inquisitive agenda. All are related to an inclusive definition of sustainability, encompassing environment, social, cultural and economic concerns.
 
Purpose - The aim of this editorial is to update an earlier paper published in foresight concerning the status and likely evolution of the proposed Union for the Mediterranean. Design/methodology/approach - The critique reviews a series of pitfalls delaying or otherwise obstructing strategic planners and negotiators. Findings - The paper analyzes briefly the status of the proposed alliance and what could retard, seriously alter, or preclude completion of a meaningful treaty. Research limitations/implications - A principal hindrance to full scenario development by the European powers concerned is lagging unanimity and therefore enthusiasm, and among African/Near Eastern nations an atmosphere of exclusion, hostilities or terrorism. Practical implications - The proposed agreement may be delayed in both the short and medium terms or else die a-borning. Originality/value - Examples of earlier international understandings provide minimal guidance to otherwise ambitious planners. Given the disruptions now affecting Arab States, entirely novel strategies may now be required.
 
We've talked a lot about the importance of marketing or selling the foresight function inside the organization. This time, let's look and see how our foresight practitioners are actually positioning themselves. I've distilled five categories of 'positionings.'
 
Purpose – This article seeks to provide a systematic examination of the unanticipated results following the introduction of various types of new policy, process, design, product or service. Design/methodology/approach – A rough taxonomy categorizes the generic kinds of unintentional consequences. Findings – Careless political, technical, commercial, military or even personal decisions often underlie the most problematic of secondary effects. Originality/value – Unscheduled second‐ or third‐order effects have often been attributed to a “law” governing such phenomena. Although no such law exists, there exist indeed the unwanted effects – and sometimes on a grand scale, too often a bane of humankind.
 
Now that energy efficiency is becoming a global imperative, Europe is finding new export markets for its energy technologies, which are as advanced as they are diverse. It's a good example of public and private agendas in step - tough environmental controls by EU member states breeding a leaner, greener energy industry. The next challenge for the politicians is to integrate research and development with socio-economic sustainability - a subject that is at the heart of a number of recent national foresight studies.
 
The millennium is an opportune time to review the history of communication technology. The startling observation is that most of today’s communication systems and technologies were invented in the nineteenth century. The twentieth century saw mostly the commercial exploitation of these systems and technologies on a grand scale in the developed countries of the world. What this perhaps means is that the opportunity for the twenty-first century will be to expand and develop communication to less developed countries.
 
This article describes the development of scenarios to stimulate public dialog concerning healthcare values. Different values lead to different futures. America’s current healthcare system has serious difficulties and must be transformed, but the underlying problems will not be addressed until the public has enough understanding to develop a consensus on the values it desires in a new system that meets societal needs. Value driven scenarios can help by illustrating the consequences of different alternatives and thereby stimulating thinking about key value-driven components that must be included for a functional and sustainable solution.
 
Immigration in the host regions (ranked by per capita income): immigrants/total population of the host regions 
Emigration in the origin regions (ranked by per capita income) in 2005: migrant population/population of country of origin 
Inertia d i in the estimation of equation net migration equation 
Fixed Effects h i in the estimation of equation net migration equation 
Figure A1 Estimates of migrant stocks settled in the host regions and by origin regions: ranked by per capita income in 2005 
Purpose ‐ The aim of this paper is to estimate the dynamic of international migration between the different regions of the world for 2030 and to measure the impact of different kind of migration policies on the economic and social evolution. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The change and migration forecasting are estimated for regions of the world using macroeconomic Cambridge Alphametrics Model. Findings ‐ The crisis and its aggravation thus clearly favour scenarios of immigration policy along the "zero migration" or "constant migration". These choices of migration policies reinforce the deflationary process resulting in reduced opportunities for renewed growth in industrial areas and are not offset by the dynamism of growth in emerging countries. Paradoxically, the developed countries which are most durably affected by the crisis are also those that have ageing population and are in high need of skilled and unskilled labor. Practical implications ‐ Three options are possible: one going along the depressive process by espousing restrictive immigration policies that remain expensive. The second involves a highly selective immigration policy. Under these conditions the demographic revival already appearing would be reinforced by a rejuvenation of the population brought about by a more open immigration policy. Political and institutional factors play a fundamental role in the emergence of this optimistic assumption and the rise of isolationism in Europe and the ghettoization of suburban areas can hinder the application of such a policy of openness to migration. The third scenario, the mass migration scenario, allows letting go of the growth related constraints and getting out of the deflationist spiral. This pro-active approach could cause public opinions to change in line with public interest. This scenario of mass migration has more of a chance to see the light under a growth hypothesis. However, restrictive policies weaken the prospects of sustainable recovery causing a vicious cycle that can only be broken by pro-active policies or by irresistible shocks. Originality/value ‐ From specific estimations, four immigration regimes have been built that cut across the major regions of the model: the "core skill replacement migration regime" based on selective policies using migration to fill high-skilled labor needs (United Kingdom, West and Northern Europe, Canada, Australia, and USA), "mass immigration and replacement" applies to South Europe, East Asia High Income, and part of West Asia (Gulf countries), "big fast-growing emerging regions of future mass immigration," notably China, India and "South-South migration" based on forced migration much of it by climate change, which may likely occur in South Asia, part of West Asia, and, most of Africa (without South Africa). Migrations in transit countries (Central America to USA, and East Europe to UK and West Europe) are based on low skilled migrants in labor-intensive sectors.
 
This article, third in a series of six, describes Life Sciences Era activities. Life sciences, rapidly gaining momentum, will begin to dominate US economic activity by 2100, then predominate well into the following century (see Figure 1). Massive advances will follow as the 140 000 genes, and 3 billion molecular units (base pairs) comprising the human genome are plotted in rough draft before 2001, and definitively charted by 2003. Once laid out, comprehending genetic patterns provides the means to govern many of the 75 trillion parts in every human.
 
Based on the world report, The World Ahead: our Future in the Making, this article identifies four major challenges which we face at the dawn of the 21st century: peace, social inequality, sustainable development and long-term global planning. It argues that society needs to be rebuilt and envisages it as an international democracy founded on four pillars or contracts – social, natural, cultural and ethical – and looks at some of the preconditions and costs.
 
At the outset of the 21st century, confidence in the effectiveness and legitimacy of established forms of governance is ebbing. This article considers historical developments in governance, the driving forces likely to transform governance worldwide and the policies that might have the best chance of enhancing governance capacities in line with the desires and needs of the future. Challenges and propects are discussed which entail the dual policy of: encouraging a virtuous circle between governance and technological, economic and social dynamism; and targeting improvements in learning infrastructure, the frameworks for establishing confidence, and the standards (mission/values) within which society functions. By improving the capacity to make and implement decisions throughout society these policies are likely to provide one of the main stepping stones to the realization of people’s aspirations in the 21st century.
 
Top-cited authors
Jan Rotmans
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rene Kemp
  • Maastricht University
Andy Hines
  • University of Houston
Peter Bishop
  • University of Houston
Ian Miles
  • The University of Manchester - & - Higher School of Economics, Moscow