Hosted in Bangkok for the second time, the 5th APFN conference intends to take a three-track approach catering for practitioners, academic researchers, and government leaders simultaneously. The organizers of the conference intend also to increase the profile of the work futurists are doing especially in the ASEAN region. This year Thailand is the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Thailand is also actively discussing the 4th Industrial Revolution, the Digital Economy 4.0 and other futures-oriented themes.

This years’s conference seeks to understand the changing futures of Asia with a concentration on ASEAN. Our focus, in particular, is on ASEAN 2030. Thematic areas for the conference are economy, knowledge, and security. Based on current trends, what might the region look like in a decade? What are emerging issues/disruptors that could take change this trajectory? And what are the alternative futures of ASEAN and the broader Asia-Pacific region.

Questions we see as relevant is can the knowledge economy drive the region, the way manufacturing did earlier? Can we imagine the beginnings of an Asian confederation that can enhance security especially in the light of threats from dramatic climate change? How might the economy for nations, communities, individuals and the region as a whole transform? Will the rise of China, micro-manufacturing, blockchain, challenges to patriarchy, transformations in traditional factory-based education be significant in changing the future?

While policymakers often desire precise answers to these questions, futurists have learned that these are best answered as alternative futures, as scenarios of the possible, plausible and preferred.

Along with alternative futures, case studies of foresight in practice from government, the private sector, and the community arena will be highlighted.

Last but not least the APFN is a peer-to-peer learning conference with extended space for networking and through interaction, genuine knowledge sharing. Moreover, we wish to enhance the futures literacy of newcomers to the field to allow them to make more informed policy and strategic decisions today for tomorrow.

Objectives

  1. To imagine the futures of ASEAN and its neighbours; explores disruptions, and create alternative futures
  2. To share methods, tools and innovations for futures thinking and strategic foresight
  3. To support the advancement of methods, practices and complementary approaches to the changing needs of policymakers
  4. To demonstrate how foresight has influenced policy processes and decisions
  5. To promote cooperation and networking among participants as well as share experiences between members of different organizations and backgrounds
  6. To stimulate the uptake of these approaches and exchange between practitioners and policymakers and ultimately to increase the profile of futures thinking and foresight in the Asia-Pacific.

For more please proceed to the APFN 5 official link https://sites.google.com/view/apfn2019/home

Is the future colonized? Are Asian leadership, management systems and innovation informed by patriarchal worldviews? What would governance and Asian leadership look like beyond the rule of big men? Can gender or women narratives disrupt how Asians perceive the future? What are the ties that binds, that unites Asia in the 21st century? Can Asia innovate or would it remain, despite technological growth and economic advances, a copy cat? Can Asia disrupt the factory model and create a socio-politic-economic model that champions a non-linear, emergent model of society (i.e philosophy, values, diversity, community, heterogeneity, culture, women, children and family that drives social transformation)? How do Asian futurist imagine the futures of Asia? What are the alternative, plausible futures of Asia?  Can Asia create a new story for Asia?

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The 3rd Asia Pacific Futures Network International Conference, Seoul, South Korea. Photo source: Science and Technology Policy Institute, South Korea.  (Note: The little kid in the middle, surrounded by futurist around the world is my son Sanjeev Cruz. Its his first international conference and happy that it was with the APFN) All smiles here 🙂

These among others the participants of the 3rd Asia Pacific Futures Network explored through lectures, paper presentations, workshops and games, keynotes for three days. The conference dubbed as “Creating New Stories for Asia: Beyond the Factory and Rule of Big Men” deconstructed and explored alternative and plausible discourses and worldviews that might disrupt or challenge the so-called factories and rule of big men. The big men concept could might as well be a product of a belief or society subscribing to the Chinese narrative “Let the father act like a father and the son act like a son” , “Great One”, “The Great Leader”, “The Chosen One” types of societal, political, economic, leadership and organizational models. This created a tradition some sort of closed elitism in Asia.

Organized and sponsored by the Science and Technology Policy Institute of South Korea, the Asia Pacific Futures Network and the Korean Association of Futures Studies, the 3rd APFN conference was participated in by futurists and development managers from Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Dubai to Thailand, Japan, the United States and Singapore to name a few. The conference was held at the National information Society Agency in Seoul South Korea.

The conference was opened by a welcome and keynote speech from Jong-kuk Song, President STEPI and Sohail Inayatullah, UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies.

The conference kickstarted with a plenary on why we got together in South Korea and politics for Asia? Jeanne Hoffman, Tamkang University presented her paper on Taiwan Trap: Rethinking Taiwan and China Futures, our very own Shermon Cruz, Center for Engaged Foresight, on the Futures of the South China Sea and Data-Driven Future Strategy: Korean Approach by Jong Sung Hwang, National Information Society Agency, South Korea.

Morning parallel sessions tackled Alternative Futures to Technology-driven Asia and Doing Different Asia. Varied topics on Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Gaming, Ethereum and Singapore Ready projects were presented in the afternoon session by Michael Jackson, Naohiro Shichijo,  Keke Hsian Mei Quei, Cheryl Chung, Shubangi Gokhale and Patricia Kelly.

Afternoon sessions. Shermon Cruz chaired the panel Young Foresight in Asia and featured the works of Nur Anisah Abdullah, Dennis Morgan and Shakil Ahmed on futures studies in UAE and South Korea. Shakil work delved on questioning the factory model in Bangladesh and envisioning  alternative education futures.

The parallel afternoon session was moderated by Meimei Song. Ivana Milojevic, Yuzilawati Abdullah, Puruesh Chaudary presented their works on on Brunei and Pakistan Futures Initiatives.

Lesson learned on the first day. To thrive and make futures as a discipline, a profession and as an art, to make it relevant and significant to various sectors and industries in Asia requires constant effort, communication and campaign to demonstrate that futures and foresight enables people and organizations, nations and actors to imagine alternatives, recognize blind spots, to design new opportunities for organization and social transformation. Futures thinking like design while playful and iterative is prototype-driven, anticipatory and collaborative.

These are some of the questions, insights and keywords that came up at the end of the first day sessions that may require further study/discussion:

  1. Ethical Authoritarianism – “father knows best”, “confucian worldview”, “the tao perspective of leadership”, “datu”
  2. Peer to peer platform in Asia – is it possible?
  3. International day of failure – overcoming the fear of failure can inspire creative work
  4. Refresh and invigorate – as futurist how can we refresh and invigorate the work of others?
  5. Are we futurist learning, perceiving in a better way?
  6. Can we leave up to the expectation?

The 2nd day begun with the welcome and congratulatory remarks from Kwang Hyung Lee, President of the Korea Futures Studies Association and Byung-jo Suh, President of the National Information Agency of South Korea. Their remarks focused on the critical role of futurist and futures studies to an emerging Asia; that new discourses and imaginings are crucial to creating a better or perhaps an Asia that drives global peace, human-centered or driven robotic, AI technologies and progress.

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3rd Asia Pacific Futures Network International Conference. Photo by STEPI 2017. Seoul, South Korea.

Parallel sessions were held to discuss city futures, the 4th industrial revolution, futures and foresight at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies including hands on workshops on the integrated visioning methods, civic education and community building and game futures.

To conclude, this conference sought to bring about a greater clarity  and understanding on the different phases of development, worldviews, priorities and leadership futures in the Asia Pacific. As all Asian nations aspire to reinvent the wheel, new futures and new possibilities also emerge.

Below are the conference acton photos courtesy of STEPI –

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Shermon Cruz, Center for Engaged Foresight, courtesy of STEPI. 2017.

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Michael Jackson, Shaping Tomorrow Network, courtesy of STEPI 2017

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Nur Anissah Abduallah, Strathclyde Business School, courtesy of STEPI

 

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Naohiro Shichijo, Tokyo University of Technology, Photo courtesy of STEPI

Alternative Futures of Global Governance: scenarios and perspectives from the Global South

My paper on the future of global governance published by Emerald Foresight is out!  Download your copy @ http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/FS-05-2014-0030 and http://www.emeraldinsight.com/toc/fs/17/2

This paper highlights the emerging roles and perspectives of the Global South in global governance. It identifies some “trading zones” and “emerging issues” that may inspire actors to create new global governance spaces, innovate alternative narratives and design new frameworks of global governance. The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical and informative exploration of the emerging roles and rising influence of the Global South in shaping the future of global governance. Specifically, it inquires into the following questions: How is the Global South impacting the way we govern globally? What are the pushers, pulls and weights to the futures of global governance? Using Jim Dator’s alternative futures archetype, what is the future of global governance? What are the emerging issues and trends?

It uses Sohail Inayatullah’s futures triangle to map the drivers – the pushes, pulls and weights of global governance and Jim Dator’s archetypes – continued economic growth, collapse, conserver and transformation – to imagine and construct alternative futures of global governance.

This special edition on global governance and power also featured a commentary from Johann Galtung and papers from  futurist Anita Sykes-Kelleher, sociologist Bernd Hamm, Jerry Harris, Dennis Morgan, Georgina Murray and more.

Shermon O. Cruz , (2015) “Alternative futures of global governance: scenarios and perspectives from the Global South”, Foresight, Vol. 17 Iss: 2, pp.125 – 142