World Conference of Futures Research

Why do we need quality criteria in future research? And what do we learn from the bleak scenarios offered by science fiction? Two lectures by Karlheinz Steinmüller at the International Future Conference in Turku provided suggestions.


Karlheinz Steinmüller, Scientific Director at Z_punkt, recently gave two lectures at the World Conference of Future Research. The first lecture started from the premise that we are in desperate need of standards and quality criteria for Future Research. Standards and quality criteria are more than just a dry academic exercise, for foresight practitioners they are also an important reference point for the quality of their own work. The discussion about who determines the criteria and how they are obtained is still on-going. Steinmüller’s lecture gives an initial insight and overview. The discussion will be continued at the annual meeting of the Future Research Network in October 2015.

The second lecture was devoted to the question of how future researchers can draw attention to their subjects – whether in research or in the corporate context. Karlheinz Steinmüller, himself an experienced science fiction author, explained in Turku how bleak scenarios can be recounted and how they can draw attention to your own issues and problems, or rather how you can predict them. He did this with the help of several examples, including the extinction of bees. This led to the development of artificial insects to pollinate plants, but they suddenly becoming a swarm and started attacking people and animals! The talk was based on the idea that if we don’t invent the new threats ourselves, then we won’t be able to protect ourselves against them.

Both lectures are available as a download.


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