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Futures of a complex world

Futures of a complex World​​​​​​​

Our world is increasingly riddled with complexity, more so than at any other time in history. For instance, the continuous growth of cities requires more infrastructure, more transport, more mobility. Or take a look at the EU, which has become an ever more complicated arrangement between European countries, balancing between centralised policies and national sovereignty. Our world's complexity is constantly growing. 

To understand the challenges of our time, we need systems thinking to grasp the complexity of our world. At its core is to see the inter-relationships rather than linear cause-and-effect chains, and in seeing processes of change rather than snapshots. All futures studies are ultimately connected to a systems approach. Since systems thinking is a way of interpreting the universe as a series of interconnected and inter-related wholes, it offers us the tools to manage complexity we observe around us.

This collection is based on the conference Futures of a Complex World that took place on 12-13 June 2017 in Turku, Finland, and is presented in cooperation with the Finland Futures Research at the University of Turku. It focuses on central challenges in a world of uncertain developments and the need for sustainable futures, as well as critical examination of futures research and its contributions.

  1. Original Article

    Exploring the future of innovation diplomacy

    Science diplomacy links the two policy domains of foreign affairs and science policy. Competitive thinking and the ways in which this affects global challenges are now putting the globalisation trends in scien...

    Jos Leijten

    European Journal of Futures Research 2017 5:20

    Published on: 22 December 2017

  2. Original Paper

    Future software organizations – agile goals and roles

    Digital transformation is rapidly causing major, even disruptive changes in many industries. Moreover, global developments like digital platforms (cloud) and IoT create fundamentally new connections at many le...

    Petri Kettunen and Maarit Laanti

    European Journal of Futures Research 2017 5:16

    Published on: 16 December 2017

  3. Original Article

    Ugly as a concept in craft to examine alternative futures

    Futures studies argue that the future cannot be predicted, but rather alternative futures can be explored and preferred futures can be imagined. Furthermore, our images of the futures can be a resource that in...

    Ana Nuutinen, Riikka Räisänen and Päivi Fernström

    European Journal of Futures Research 2017 5:18

    Published on: 16 December 2017

  4. Original Article

    Methods for assessing future scenarios from a sustainability perspective

    Future scenarios are often used to address long-term challenges characterised by uncertainty and complexity, as they can help explore different alternative future pathways. Scenarios can therefore be a useful ...

    Eléonore Fauré, Yevgeniya Arushanyan, Elisabeth Ekener, Sofiia Miliutenko and Göran Finnveden

    European Journal of Futures Research 2017 5:17

    Published on: 16 December 2017

  5. Original Article

    The future of consumer decision making

    Mediatisation of the world and the increasing power of social networks, means that consumers’ choices are more and more based on identity play, gaining social currency and self-branding. Furthermore the choice...

    Hanna Willman-Iivarinen

    European Journal of Futures Research 2017 5:14

    Published on: 15 December 2017

  6. Original Article

    Surprise as the new normal – implications for energy security

    We are living in a world of increasing interconnectedness through digitalisation and globalisation, exacerbating environmental conditions, severe economic challenges, uneven distribution of wealth, and geopoli...

    Sirkka Heinonen, Joni Karjalainen, Juho Ruotsalainen and Karlheinz Steinmüller

    European Journal of Futures Research 2017 5:12

    Published on: 11 December 2017