How To Make Sense of the Future?

by Mika Aaltonen and Theodor Barth

ABSTRACT

This paper focuses on how to create value and meaning for users of the AC/UNU Millennium project’s “Futures Research Methodology – V 2.0” report. Sensemaking is presented as a possible framework for achieving this objective, and supplements the efforts already invested in this direction by the “Futures Research Methodology – V 2.0”. The rationale for this supplement will also be presented. When applied the “Futures Research Methodology – V 2.0” shows, in general, some interesting features characteristic of the implementation of knowledge systems. In particular, the emergence of effects that are beyond the initial – but not the final – scope of the system. Sensemaking addresses the challenge of understanding and retrieving such dissipation from the knowledge system, and aims to bring it within a manageable range. In this way the article particularly addresses the shift that results from understanding and managing complexity. It puts forth a demonstration of these effects on futures research methods, and shows how foresight and hindsight may be used to gain insight into the present.

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