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Author Topic: From embracing “bias” to the benefit of diversity in foresight processes
Miriam-
J.S. Leis
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Post From embracing “bias” to the benefit of diversity in foresight processes
on: May 16, 2011, 08:38
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At the Future-oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) conference that I have attended (http://foresight.jrc.ec.europa.eu/fta_2011/intro.html) one interesting point has especially stayed in my mind: openness – openness to different ideas, diversity and even openness to embracing bias.

So what is bias? In my view, the usage of the term bias in itself already implies a bias as “bias” somewhat has a connotation with “error” and skewness. Speaking of “bias” I have discovered in my work and communication with different communities that much perception about the alleged bias of other communities is actually rather prejudice since although the ideas of individuals of various communities may be different, in most cases they were not totally incompatible.

For me it is about allowing for different viewpoints and ideas to communicate with each other about certain topics – in this case about different topics and challenges elated to foresight activities. Such communication should also be open and free from organisational constraints, reflecting individual views based on observation, experience as well as personal analytical skills and intelligence. It is through the synthesis and complementation of varying viewpoints that progress in problem-solving is being achieved.

Everybody has different views about the future and focuses on different aspects about which factors may shape the future and where they may lead us to. We should take advantage of this variety, but also try to channel this variety towards a common goal of analysis and problem solving.

In order to achieve this, we need:

1) a common challenge to work on
2) to open up a space to discuss how different people perceive this challenge
3) gather a space to collect different proposals for solutions without “censoring”
4) discuss and evaluate the different solutions from different perspectives in regard to their pro, cons, feasibility, desirability and potential side effects
5) run scenarios on potential impacts and consequences
6) figure acceptable solution spaces (normative dimension) and plans/roadmaps to implement them (what do we need?)

Herewith I would like to open the discussion for your ideas and experiences about the integration of different viewpoints and experiences, i.e. variety in regard to the foresight process and if someone has interest in running a (test) exercise?

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