Research-based
policy recommendations
for the G7

Future Design: For the Survival of Humankind

Abstract

Humanity has been experiencing a breakdown of peace due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, collapses of the Earth’s circulatory system including cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and a collapse of biodiversity. These problems are related to our survival.

At meetings of world leaders, including the G7 and G20, the only discussion has been from now to the future. Discussions about the future have been hampered by the short-term interests of individual countries, which have prevented us from reaching agreements and developing creative visions for the long-term future. As the future generations do not have any voice to bargain with the present generation, the present generation may take civil and military decisions which may unintentionally harm future generations.

Long-term future design has advanced greatly over the past three decades. Techniques such as Scenario planning, statistical long cycle forecasting and back casting have become popular.  UNESCO’s Futures Literacy Labs seeks to improve Futures Literacy as a basic competency that anyone can acquire. It uncovers advanced approaches to designing and using the future to build capacity to discern and make sense of complex emergence. Future literacy can help overcome fear and antipathy towards the uncertainty that is inherent in a non-deterministic universe.

Research has found that in discussing long-term future issues, solutions become more creative and innovative by utilizing “future point of view”. We have developed the method of Future Design (FD) to systematically allow policy makers to imagine policies from a future point of view. When we think about the future from the present, we tend to get caught up in the present. Because the vectors of each proposal have different directions, we cannot reach consensus and have to make compromise. FD can provide individuals, organisations and governments access to a better understanding of the world, and to act in accordance with our values through the consideration of the richness of experimentation, innovation and creativity that surrounds us. We would like to see the leaders of the G7 use FD and become imaginary future presidents or imaginary future prime ministers, to debate and negotiate future policies.  We propose to try out the Future Design method on a challenging contemporary issue at a smaller scale.

Let us reduce future failures that burden future generations and make sure that future generations say “thank you” to their ancestors who made bold transformations at Schloss Elmau in 2022.