10 July 2020

“The World isn’t Flat”: A Plea for Anticipatory Governance

“The World isn’t Flat”: A Plea for Anticipatory Governance
© Association of Professional Futurists and Foresight International.

The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies 2020 is the long-awaited successor to the widely praised 2005 edition. Over 30 contributions from around the world are presenting the best and most innovative working approaches from the last fifteen years and are illustrating the increasing relevance of Future Studies and Strategic foresight.

To the new edition, the Bureau für Zeitgeschehen has been contributing a chapter on “The Future of Governance”. The article points out that – if we have learned anything during the last ten years at all – effective crisis management is not prone to one-dimensional explanations, simplistic answers, or quick fixes. This is bad news for politicians who depend on their ability to offer attractive and plausible narratives of a better future that have the potential to mobilize political support, social capital, and economic resources.

The article makes the case for strong visionary leadership in a world that seems to be derailing; a world in which old concepts of order erode faster than new recipes for stability can be created and tested; a polycentric environment in which many cooks spoil the broth. It also argues that leadership in the VUCA world – a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous in nature – should rely on the ability to anticipate seismic shifts within our societies and that Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning enable decision-makers to acquire these abilities.


The chapter “Anticipatory Governance: The Role of Futures Studies in Regaining the Political Initiative” can be provided as free free download. The new edition full edition The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies 2020 can be purchased on the websites of Foresight International and Association for Professional Futurists.

Anticipatory Governance: The Role of Futures Studies in Regaining the Political Initiative.