How we think about the future influences how we act today; what is important to us, what we think is possible and hence what we aspire to. The Chair in Responsible Foresight for Sustainable Development was inspired by a long-term collaboration with UNESCO’s work on Futures Literacy but is shaped by the interests and calling of colleagues at the Lincoln International Business School.
In its programme of Futures Literacy, UNESCO recognises that the capacity of people and institutions to “use the future” in constructive and proactive ways contributes to human flourishing. As chairholder in responsible foresight for sustainable development, Professor Ted Fuller collaborates with global partners to help us reframe our futures, to imagine possible transformations and to plan specific actions. As a group of international academics, they are using their unique skills and knowledge to solve the problem of predicting future uncertainties, achieving sustainable development goals and leaving no one behind. This requires the dedication to imagine, aspire and act in order to create positive futures and see the world in different ways.
The Chair is still relatively new but is propelled by the energy and commitment of the UNESCO Chair group members to their vast research, education and capacity building studies.
ABOUT THE CHAIR’S RESEARCH
The future is a real and significant space for inspiring the development of aspirations and capabilities, but the multidisciplinary significance of this knowledge is less well developed. Over recent years, Ted has made moves to develop Anticipation Studies, an emerging area of research using expectations about future outcomes to guide present investigation and action.
The purpose of the Chair is to work in a series of co-laboratories with international partners to help design sustainable futures in each specific contexts, all with the goal to improve human flourishing. Through research on the nature and effects of anticipatory systems, Ted and his colleagues have been able to apply their knowledge to sectors including, women’s enterprise, governance, health, post conflict peace and sustainable development.
The Chair’s co-lab with Khulna University is working on the adoption of textile enzymes for sustainable textile manufacturing (the largest exporting industry in Bangladesh) with the hope to develop ways of supporting strategic foresight in the textile industry and help implement greater sustainability. Collaborations also involve research and practice around negotiation in order to provide practical ways to bring desired futures closer. Dr Andrea Caputo has subsequently run workshops that help women to progress within business by encouraging these entrepreneurs to imagine and create possibilities for themselves through the capability to negotiate their position.