Stewardship of the Future
Using Strategic Foresight in 21st Century Governance
This paper provides a compendium of views, case studies and ideas on how to build Strategic Foresight capabilities in governments and ministries around the world. It synthesizes experiences of working with government, alongside futures communities and with the public service in a variety of contexts.
The author suggests that 21st century governance requires governments to assume ‘stewardship of the future’. To evolve into this new role, governments must not only build the institutional capacity to undertake strategic foresight, but also develop behavioural capability to habitually consider the longer-term. The effective implementation of UN SGDs will require the deployment of strategic foresight, as it forces governments to plan for the future using probable problems and prospects from the future, as opposed to prepare for the future on the basis of the present. In short, the use of strategic foresight allows countries to reflect the UN SDGs within their national visions, making these development aims much more politically realistic.