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Shaping futures, story by story

Author

Bianca Dragomir

May 30, 2024

We humans are creatures made of words, just as we are made of atoms. Within any language, metaphors are essential instruments of thought, shaping how we perceive, conceptualize and act in the world. As more complex tapestries, stories have always been fundamental to the human experience, helping us understand the world, connect with others, navigate our emotions, preserve our heritage.


Foresight, and more generally futures thinking, is no stranger to these sense-making devices. They are integral to crafting rich, imaginative, and plausible scenarios, or articulating visions and preferred futures and the pathways to achieve them. Also, they are crucial in communicating foresight findings and driving meaningful action towards shaping the future.


Here are five articles I recommend, very different in their angle and scope, on issues related to present and future metaphors, use of data, stories, narratives, imaginaries.


The themes in these articles resonate, to different extents, with recent foresight projects or future oriented initiatives showcased on futures4europe, which I also invite you to explore. They are linked, under each article, for your convenience.


  • Metaphors make the world. Woven into the fabric of language, metaphors shape how we understand reality. What happens when we try using new ones?


>> Explore on futures4europe: "Stories shape futures" workshop presentation by Claire Marshall - part 1 on stories, narratives, and meta-narratives and part 2  on common collective narratives and possible counter-narratives.



>> Explore on futures4europe:  Futures of Big Tech in Europe (Sandro Mendonça, Daniele Archibugi, Anna Gerbrandy, Lena Tsipouri). Four scenarios for 2040 are fleshed out, together with implications for Europe, especially in terms of research and innovation policy.



>> Explore on futures4europe: The case study “Data as Representation” (Radu Gheorghiu, Liviu Andreescu, Philine Warnke) proposes three scenarios  on the way data is understood and used in relation to the human and natural ecosystems by 2050. The case study is part of the project S&T&I FOR 2050. Science, Technology and Innovation for Ecosystem Performance – Accelerating Sustainability Transitions


  • What the ‘future histories’ of the 1920s can teach us about hope. If we look back 100 years, how was tomorrow imagined back then? A century ago, there were dystopias and utopias, but many writers and thinkers also approached the future in other ways: with an open, nuanced and often playful perspective. And they did so despite the grave challenges they faced in their societies. What might we learn from these visions?


>> Explore on futures4europe: "How will we disgust our descendants"?, conducted by 4CF - The Futures Literacy Company. The answers provided to this question by 60 futurists from around the world were grouped into 93 contemporary “barbarisms” ranked in a public vote according to how eye-opening they are.




>> Explore on futures4europe: "Sound of Contagion – An Artistic Research Project Exploring A.I. as a Creative Tool for Transmedial Storytelling" on human-technical collaborations that may inspire and enhance artistic expression in the future. By Wenzel Mehnert, Robert Laidlow, Chelsea Haith & Sara Laubscher.

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EXTERNAL LINKS


New to foresight or want to deepen your knowledge on methods? Interested in the latest research and videos from the Futures4Europe community? Find out more in our futures literacy database!

Renata Mandzhieva

Renata Mandzhieva

In conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebration of R&I foresight in Austria, the Conference will have an academic focus, where younger scholars will be given an opportunity to present their work. The conference will engage 80 to 120 participants.
Eye of Europe Conference: Foresight and R&I, 15-16 May, 2025, Vienna
Eye of Europe Conference: Foresight and R&I, 15-16 May, 2025, Vienna

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Bianca Dragomir

Bianca Dragomir

Eye of Europe Mutual Learning Event: Emerging Practices in Foresight for Research & Innovation policy
Eye of Europe Mutual Learning Event: Emerging Practices in Foresight for Research & Innovation policy

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Laura Galante

Laura Galante

Following the publishing of the Fourth Global Trends ESPAS report in April 2024, Futures4Europe had the pleasure of interviewing the editor and two co-authors of the report about their reflections and key trend insights throughout the foresight research and writing process. ESPAS, or the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, unites nine EU institutions and bodies to collaboratively identify and analyze medium- and long-term trends affecting the EU, informing policy-makers about their implications.
ESPAS report 2024: The trends, the uncertainties and challenges for choosing Europe’s future
ESPAS report 2024: The trends, the uncertainties and challenges for choosing Europe’s future

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Dimitris  Dimitriadis

Dimitris Dimitriadis

In a world where change is the only constant, strategic foresight is more critical than ever. The Tri-Scope Synthesis method offers a robust framework combining critical, futures and exponential thinking, equipping leaders and organizations with the tools to anticipate and influence their futures effectively.
Navigating the Future: The Power of Tri-Scope Synthesis
Navigating the Future: The Power of Tri-Scope Synthesis

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