Research-based
policy recommendations
for the G7

Research Institute for Future Design, Kochi University of Technology

In order to design a sustainable society, it is essential to engage in decision-making that reflects the viewpoints and interests of future generations. However, it is difficult to make policy decisions that reflect the perspectives of such future generations in our society.

 

There are two main pillars in our society. One of them is the market system. It is an excellent device that realizes our desires in the short-run. However, it does not allocate resources with the interests of future generations in mind. Democracy is another pillar that is supposed to compensate the faults of the market, but it too is a mechanism that benefits the current generation without regard for future generations. Because future generations do not exist now, the current generation cannot hear their voices. Furthermore, since we are by nature myopic and optimistic, we cannot conduct decision making that sufficiently takes account of future generations. In this way, the current generation remorselessly deprives the resources that could have been utilized by future generations.

 

Coping with this important issue, we propose a new framework called “Future Design” including introducing “imaginary future generations” in our society. The Center is a transdisciplinary team composed of biologists, environmental scientists, economists, psychologists, political scientists, engineers, neuroscientists and so on designed to deal with this issue. We are engaging in theoretical and experimental work, as well as survey work to address this issue. Furthermore, we have begun to put our theories into practice at regional municipalities.

 

The Research Center for Future Design aims to design new sustainable societies that compensate for defects inherent in democratic and market institutions.

Publications

Future Design: For the Survival of Humankind

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.

Logo: Future Design

Details

City Kochi 780-8515
Country Japan
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