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Most Significant Futures Works
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Most Significant Futures Works

APF annual recognizes the Most Significant Futures Works for the purpose of identifying and rewarding the work of professional futurists and others whose work illuminates aspects of the future. Furthermore, APF publicly shares these projects with the public in order to educate and inform, and to showcase examples of excellent futures work. In addition to this official record, Wikipedia tracks these awards under its Futures Studies page.

MSFW 2019 Award Winners

The 2019 Most Significant Futures Works (MSFW) Awards were announced by APF's Chair, at it's ProDev Reception, September 9th, Hotel Royal Pedregal, in Mexico City. Works are nominated by May 31st in three categories: Category 1 Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies; Category 2 Analyze a significant future issue; and Category 3 Illuminate the future through literacy or artistic works.  The core committee of APF members administrating the program for 2019 were Andy Hines (Chair), Jennifer Jarratt, Rowena Morrow, and Sam Miller. If you have questions, please contact Andy Hines, MFSW Chair. The nomination process for next year awards can be found here.

  • Category 1: Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies

1. The Five Dimensions of Futures Consciousness, Sanna Ahvenharju, Matti Minkkinen, Fanny Lalot, Article, 2018, Futures, 104, 1–13. Category 1: Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies Nominating member: Petri Tapio

The authors develop a novel five-dimensional model of futures consciousness. The model is based on a literature review of futures studies spanning five decades, and it consists of the following dimensions: 1) Time Perspective, i.e. the ability for comprehending the passing of time, the sequentiality of consequences and the value of long-term thinking; 2) Agency Beliefs provide us with the confidence in our own potential to influence the course of events and the skill to see when this is possible; 3) Openness to Alternatives enables individuals to question authority and established truths, and critically but imaginatively evaluate potential future paths; 4) Systems Perception makes us aware of the complex connections between human and natural systems on this planet; and 5) Concern for others makes us appreciate how the future will be better for ourselves when it is better for others as well.

The five-dimensional Futures Consciousness concept holds significant promise for ground-breaking research as well as foresight practice. Firstly, the model builds the foundations for a paradigm shift in futures studies towards a systematic understanding of the anticipating agent’s horizons rather than projected alternative futures. Secondly, the five dimensions of Futures Consciousness can be operationalised and used for empirical research. For example, drawing on relevant psychological constructs, the authors have developed a psychometric tool to measure the level of futures consciousness in individuals (next article under review). The five dimensions can also be used for foresight evaluation, like in an ongoing project evaluating the Finnish national foresight system. Finally, the model offers foresight practitioners a heuristic tool to design workshops and training programmes. Futures Consciousness is not something that individuals either have or do not have; it is a capacity, a skill that should be developed.

  • Category 2: Analyze a significant future issue
  1. Towards Personalized Gastronomy 2050, Estefania Simon-Sasyk & Daniel Riveong, Report, 2019, Basque Culinary Center. Category 2: Analyzes a significant future issue Nominating member: John Sweeney

In recent years, there have been a number of projects and reports on the future of food in various shapes and forms. Few, if any, have focused on gastronomy, which is a more holistic approach to understanding what and how we eat. As one of the foundational projects of the Basque Culinary Center, Project Gastronomía is an initiative that addresses the food system challenges of the future through gastronomy in ways that are humanistic, sustainable, healthy, and delicious. The "Towards Personalized Gastronomy 2050" breaks new ground in exploring the futures of a familiar topic in novel and lively ways. Building on workshops and research, the report looks at how the rise of personalized gastronomy will shift views of health, our bodies, and food itself. In addition to outlining the outcomes of a foresight game centered on generating insights from top chefs, researchers, and scientists, the report poses a series of “what if’s” aimed at illuminating potential transformations in what and how we eat. In addition to focusing on Basque country, with its culinary mecca of San Sebastián, the report raises global-scale ethical questions surrounding how new technologies can and might shift our relationship with food. Ultimately, Project Gastronomía, which is encapsulated by the "Towards Personalized Gastronomy 2050" report, showcases how the Basque Culinary Center has institutionalized foresight as part of its research and consulting activities.

 

  • Category 3: Illuminate the future through literary or artistic work

Making the Futures Present, Maggie Greyson, Research Project, February 14, 2017, Ontario College of Art and Design University. Category 1: Advance the methodology and practice of foresight and futures studies Nominating member: Zan Chandler

For global systems to shift, every stakeholder will need to have some insight about their own expectations of the future. Maggie Greyson’s personal experiential futures technique called Making the Futures Present helps people to use strategic foresight to explore diverse futures. This creative one-to-one or group workshop uses multiple futures as a human-centred design tool pushing foresight in different ways. It is an introduction to the value of foresight to new segments of society providing participants with the opportunity to experience long-term thinking in a playful setting.

The workshop is a strategic activity designed so that participants think about themselves in a broader context, gain awareness of an evolving landscape, and uncover their unconscious bias, before considering their goals in the future. They come to recognize that thinking about multiple futures is an opportunity to strategize what part they want to play now. Participants report that the experience creates very strong impacts on life transitions based on declarations of their values, current soft skills, and desired future abilities.

It incorporates a series of methods from strategic foresight, ethnography, design thinking, personal experience, and values-based decision making. Pushing 20 years into the future for adults, and 50 years for kids, it draws on imagination, intuition and real-life examples to generate vivid scenarios to explore. As clients require something more concrete and actionable than insights, rapid prototyping artifacts or experiences enables them to move beyond the abstract, while also providing an unexpected opportunity to voice what they value.

The simplicity of form and impact of the experience is so easy to teach that kids are teaching other kids to think about the future. The technique can also introduce the benefit of foresight to an organization and potentially grow a new audience for foresight practitioners.


History of the MSFW

The program was founded in 2007 and first awards were made in 2008. All program winners can be viewed at-a-glance in this summary table.For the inaugural selection, only published books were eligible. Fifty-seven books were nominated. The top ten were recognized by the APF.