Communication présentée au séminaire de Louvain-la Neuve sur l’avenir des Européens dans la société mondiale de la connaissance

For the promotion of foresight knowledge via networking

mercredi 13 avril 2005

Toutes les versions de cet article : [English] [français]

Networking the Future
Think-tanks and the Building of an European Knowledge Platform

by Saphia Richou,
President of Prospective Foresight Network, Millennium Project French Node

To participate to this reflexion about Networking the Future, I have decided to answer the questions by sharing my modest experience of Networking with Prospective Foresight Network

How to create an European knowledge Platform ?

If everybody agrees to say that both information and creativity are needed to create new knowledge, the difficulty we meet with Prospective-Foresight Network is to find a varied and relevant free information. How and where to collect interesting data and with which working community to share it ? How to transform information into knowledge and wisdom ? How to convince people to collaborate to our website even though they don’t really perceive the impact of our publications ?

In fact, Prospective-Foresight Network’s experience is : “learn about it in doing it”.

We hope we collaborate creating a new knowledge by offering a foresight information Platform. At this stage, PFN’s users help themselves and choose from a various information available on the website. We haven’t reached yet our goal of establishing a foresight knowledge Platform but we are on a good track. In order to undestand better our members, we are starting an e-survey that we allow us to improve our web site.

It’s certainely easier to create new knowledge inside a working community where people are connected with each others. The European Regional Foresight College created in the framework of the Summer University of DATAR and DRAST prouves this theory ( it will be held on 8th of September 2004 at Lille in France)

The European Regional Foresight College is one of Prospective-Foresight Network’s mission and is a good example of new foresight knowledge. It was established o April, 1, 2004 on the initiative of the land planning and regional action delegation of the French Republic (DATAR), based on a proposal from its scientific council (Council for Foresight and Regional Dynamic). The European Regional Foresight College was chaired at it’s creation by professor Michel Godet (Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers, Paris) and is now directed by Philippe Destatte, director of The Destree Institute, member of the DATAR’s Council for Foresight and Regional Dynamic.

The priorities of this council are to deal with the opening towards Europe and the reinforcing of the regional foresight competencies of DATAR and its partners.
The general objectives of the European Regional Foresight College are :
1- to create a community of competencies, concepts, methods and practices in regional foresight, within which foresight’s studies, written in the different languages of the European Union, in particular French, are valorised.
2- to organise a European network, to monitor and discuss developments in European regions and their foresight practices ;
3- to contribute to the collective learning of regional actors through the development of their foresight competencies, by supplying them with information on past high-level European experiences.
By creating a foresight glossary structured according to topics and focused on the needs of regional actors the European Regional Foresight College, we try to create the conditions of a new European Regional Foresight knowledge. It’s the beginning of a partnership working to produce a new knowledge. A first draft has been outlined
why have foresight (governance, etc.)
the launching of the process (clients, beneficiaries, sponsors,etc.)
the outcome of the process(output) ;
the organisation of the process ;
the impact (appropriation, strategy).
in addition, an index will enable direct access to concepts.
Being bound as nodes, we are developing a commun language to work together, we are discovering different ways of foresight thinking, we are appropriating the knowledge’s community and with time, it will be more and more easy to create an European Foresight Knowledge Platform.

The European Millennium Project Nodes Initiative (EuMPI) is one of Prospective-Foresight Network’s mission and is also a good example of new foresight knowledge.

In this project, the objectives are to structure networking between European Future Knowledge Centres participating as Nodes of the Millennium Project :
1.1. the specificities of European profile in futures studies and practices to be tackled within worldwide initiatives i.e. the Millennium Project ;
1.2. the lack of European dedicated "home" to exchange and capitalize about futures studies and applications ;
1.3. the demands coming from European Union institutions - and especially from the European Commission - to associate existing and structured networks of competences to support European visions and policies,
- to better reflect European coveradge in global issues and develop a European view complementary to national position ;
- to act as a repository for exchange at European level for national and regional policy makers ;
- to diffuse methods and tools for foresight and futures visioning to European policymakers and industry, large, small and medium ;
- to host the Planning Committee of the Millennium Project in 2005.
- to develop a website and an internet discussion list dedicated to that European Millennium Project Initiative.

The competency of creating permanent connections between the partners is fundamental to be successful, so are the regular meetings between the partners. To create a common wisdom, we need to know each others and share regularly. Beside network technology, we need a sort of transitional space as Donald Winnicott explains, a transitional space where we can together build creative vision derives from human exchanges.

If some countries are more prepared to work together because of social and cultural habits, our global world will influence positively each other to work differently. Some countries will be more performent in creativity and some others will be more performent at organizing them.

We believe and hope that the organizations mentioned earlier in this paper are the premicises of an emerging European Knowledge Platform.

But we should also keep in mind that it’s difficult for little structures like Prospective-Foresight Network to exist. Until now, our association relied on the energy and the good will of three persons. In order to develop and satisfy our members, we need to be sponsored to strengthen our position of a European Foresight Network.

To check our results and discover our day to day work, please read the papers in Pdf inclosed here.

Sincerely Yours

Saphia Richou

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