- 1. TRANSFORMATIVE FORESIGHTLearning with Futures @ OECD 22
January 2014 Philippe Vandenbroeck Partner, shiftN
2. Transformative foresight At the service of the messy business
of transitioning complex socio-technical systems
...mobilityenergy... under pressurefoodmanufacturing 3. Now this
has been standing here for centuries. The premier work of man
perhaps in the whole western world and its without a
signature:Chartres. - Orson Welles 4. CharCharCathedral of our Lady
of Chartres 1194-1250 5. There is nothing quite like Chartres ...
One of the nest examples of French gothic architectureThe rst
canonical embodiment of our denition of Gothic architecture as the
conjunction of pointed arches, ribbed vaults and ying buttresses.At
the time of its building, it had the tallest roof in the Western
world (about 38 metres).Many structural innovations allowing for
unprecedented scale and much greater area for window openings. The
architecture is nothing but a frame for displays of stained
glass.There is nothing quite like Chartres, partly because of the
sheer quantity of glass, partly because of its special tonal
quality.Its 176 original stained glass windows are the most
complete set of medieval stained glass in the world.Chartres was
one of the great centres of medieval learning, long before
universities were created.Length: 130 metres Width: 32 metres / 46
metres Nave: height 37 metres; width 16.4 metres Ground area:
10,875 square metres Height of south-west tower: 105 metres Height
of north-west tower: 113 metres 176 stained-glass windows Choir
enclosure: 200 statues in 41 scenes 6. Question How do you envisage
that this extraordinary innovation came into being, knowing that
... ... no original plans have been found; ... the name(s) of the
architect(s) have not been transmitted; ... there was no common
method of measurement, no scientic knowledge of structural
mechanics. 7. The 'blueprint' hypothesis Branner: "Although it may
be difcult for us to imagine nowadays, when sketchbook and pencil
are the architect's vade mecum, the habit of thinking out a design,
even down to the details, was perfectly normal when there was no
strong tradition of drawing." Page from travel sketchbook Villard
de Honnecourt master builder 1225-1250 8. The 'non-blueprint'
hypothesis Turnbull: "Cathedrals were comparable to modern
laboratories in three important ways: their very construction
constituted a series of fullscale experiments. they were spaces
where local, tacit and messy knowledge/practices were transformed
into a coherent tradition. Cathedrals were powerful loci of
learning and social transformation, absorbing large amounts of
capital and concentrating resources, skills and labour. 9. So how
can you build things that the world has never seen before?
Exchange: ongoing interaction between patron, masons and other
craftsmen. Exemplars: life-sized drawings as templates for stone
cutters, allowing for mass-production and incremental building
tactics. Expertise: a set of geometric rules of thumb derived from
a craftsman-like practice, passed on from master to apprentice.
Experiment: a cathedral is like a building made of playing cards,
each section leaning on others in some sort of equilibrium. Much of
the building process of the gothic cathedrals was innovative and
experimental. Exaltation: resources expended on the building are
seen as honouring God, and served also demonstrate both the
devotion, status and power of the patrons. 10. "The structure of
the cathedrals results from the combination of factors. They all
interact as a whole to produce a particular form. The 'Gothic
Style' as such was not in the minds of the cathedral builders ..."
D. Turnbull, 'Masons, Tricksters and Cartographers' 11. The ATLAS
experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN: "Mapping the
secrets of the universe" 12. The LHC: the most complex and
expensive scientic experimental facility ever built. With its
sister experiment CMS ATLAS endeavoured to detect the Higgs boson.
On 4 July 2012 ATLAS reported evidence for the particle's
existence, capping a 40-year search. The ATLAS detector: weighs as
much as the Eiffel Tower, 10 million functional elements. ATLAS had
to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in three interrelated
technological areas: 1) never-achieved collision energy and
luminosity, 2) unparallelled event detection rates, and 3) data
acquisition and processing to match. The guiding magnets operate at
a temperature of -271C. The pressure inside the LHC is 10-13
atmosphere, 1/10 of the pressure on the moon. LHC takes 40 million
snapshots per second, each with an image resolution of 100
megapixels.ATLAS involved 3.000 scientists, spread across 173
institutes, in 38 countries. 13. Chartres builders and ATLAS
physicists faced similar challenges. "Turning ATLAS into a reality
was akin to putting together a non-linear, multi-dimensional puzzle
of interdependent pieces brought together on the basis of uid and
changeable concepts rather than stable and delineated patterns."
Jenni, Nordberg and Boisot, 2011.
photo:Ma)hewClemente,Flickrphoto:ClaudiaMarcelloni,CERN 14. What
the ATLAS collaboration avoided ... Complex governance: the
collaboration is guided by a 7-page MoU. Top-down hierarchy: there
is no CEO, only a 'spokesperson'. A masterplan: the Technical
Proposal contained an embryonic concept with myriads of design
options left open. 15. What the ATLAS collaboration did ...
Destination: hold on to a clear and unchanging objective: nding the
Higgs. Decentralisation: implement an project adhocracy based on
decentralisation of technical and nancial risks. Deliberation:
cultivate emergent technical leadership through a continuous review
process guided by rational justication and consensual choice of
design options. Diffusion: cultivate an interlaced information
metabolism, leading to ongoing reconguration, recontextualisation
and collective internalisation of available knowledge. Dispersal:
Cultivate inclusiveness on a large scale by collectivising prestige
and honouring the norms and values of the scientic community. 16.
Creating breakthroughs in a setting of irreducible uncertainty:
lessons learned Clear vision, strong values. 1st class technical
expertise. No masterplan. Fluid design trajectory, keeping options
open, hands-on experiments. Decentralisation of work streams and
accountability. Intense information ow, boundary objects, learning.
17. Another take on the same story: optionality optionality =
asymmetry + rationalityNassim Nicholas TalebThe mechanism of
'convex tinkering' (i.e. fail fast, or trial-and-error: low-cost
mistakes, with known maximum losses and large potential payoff. 18.
Rationality intelligence "If you have optionality, you do not have
much need for what is commonly called intelligence, knowledge,
insight. For you don't have to be right that often. All you need is
the wisdom to not do unintelligent things to hurt yourself and
recognise favourable outcomes when they occur." - N.N. Taleb 19.
Effectuation: creating ventures in unknowable spaces 4 simple
heuristicsSaras SarasvathyStart with your means Focus on downside
risk Leverage contingencies Form partnerships 20. Can we imagine
that this is how great cathedrals came into being?Copyright The
Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia:
Transformative foresight At the service of the messy business of
transitioning complex socio-technical systems ...mobilityenergy...
under pressurefoodmanufacturing 22. How can foresight contribute?
epistemologiesscenario development, roadmapping, horizon scanning,
forecastingmethodologiesscenarios, systems maps, models, early
indicatorstools 23. What we have learned from Chartres and ATLAS:
an epistemology of transformative foresight a non-causal,
non-intelligence driven ethos of shaping
complexityepistemologiesscenario development, roadmapping, horizon
scanning, forecastingmethodologiesscenarios, systems maps, models,
early indicatorstools 24. 'Energiewende': Transforming the energy
system of the fourth largest economy in the world 25. A
multidimensional puzzle ... New building/urban conceptsBehavioural
changeNew scal/nancial instrumentsAlternative mobility systems New
energy infrastructureNew information management conceptsAlternative
power sources 26. High stakes, far away time horizon, irreducible
uncertainty, ... 2011: Fukushima and the new 'Energiekonzept'.
Broad political consensus for a radical reform. 1987-1990:
parliamentary commission on climate change uses a turnaround
scenario. 2003: WBGU landmark report "Energy turnaround 1980s:
Multitude of energy for sustainability". turnaround scenarios.
1980: term 'energy turnaround' is coined.19801990Energiewende
timeline 1998: energy turnaround scenario becomes ofcial government
policy.200020102020"We have to be very clear that todays technology
will only carry us for the next ten or fteen years. (...) We are
right now extrapolating todays technology in a pretty linear
fashion. You never know what kind of disruptive technologies will
show up in between."2050 Prof. Frank Behrendt (TUBerlin, Acatech)
27. Again: how can foresight contribute? 28. Again: how can
foresight contribute? Make explicite normative biases & systems
viewArticulate, envision shared goalsCreate trust in
multistakeholder settingsIdentify weak signals, unknown
unknownsCement partnershipsSupport the 'planning as learning'
process'Windtunnel' strategic options 29. Transition governance:
the art of goal-directed incrementalism A theory and practice of
'managing' as searching, experimenting and
learningVisioningAlliance buildingLearningExperimenting 30.
Foresight at the 'fuzzy front-end' systems
thinking+dialogue+'design thinking'dariocuci.comthinking 'big
picture'embracing the normativerapid prototypingthinking
interdependencescultivating contingencyabductive thinkingthinking
leverage pointsbuilding social capitalimagineering 31. Thank you
for your attention