Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion Social innovation

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What is the future of citizen engagement in government? Take our survey and tell us what you think (Photo: Garrett Gill)

So now that you’ve read my best-of-foresight reading list, aren’t you curious to see how all of this is actually being applied to the development context?

Well then, look no further!

As we get ever closer to #UNDP4Future on 16-17 June in Istanbul, I’ve made a list projects putting foresight at the forefront:

UN Global Pulse has conducted a series of collaborative research projects testing the feasibility of adapting new tools and methods in real-time data collection and analytics. Projects range from the real-time e-pricing of bread to taking a global snapshot of well-being through mobile phones.

SMARTGRID 2025, a game run on the Foresight Engine, is a cool opportunity to envision a new energy future – with over 700 players contributing answers to questions on new energy policies, technologies, and possibilities.

In the UK, an ongoing foresight project is currently looking at how cities can best contribute to economic growth in the future.

The  Inventor’s Toolkit  from the Governance Future Lab walks you through the governance design process helping you become a more effective social inventor.

The Good Judgment Project is harnessing the wisdom of the crowd to forecast world global events. Their collective forecasts are surprisingly accurate.

AllAboard is a system for exploring urban mobility and optimizing public transport using cellphone data.

SenseMaker® uses software to link micro-narratives with human sense-making to create advanced decision support, research, and monitoring capability in organizations.

Twitter Time

We’re finding that Twitter is surprisingly accurate in predicting unemployment while social media has shown to be effective in the prediction of the economic activities in cities with outdated economic indicators.

On the heels of the Post-2015 development agenda, UN Global Pulse produced a social media analysis to identify the relevance of themes picked up from global Twitter discourses, and map them against identified Post-2015 priorities.

The resultant visualization is pretty awesome:


For better response and recovery to natural and human made disasters, tweets can also now be analyzed with the use of artificial intelligence platforms.

What does the future hold?

What is the future of urban resilience? The recipe includes mixing small and big data with citizen engagement at its core. Don’t miss the video at the bottom!

In the UK, a foresight project looked at providing advice to decision makers on how science can inform the difficult choices and priorities that come with disaster risk reduction.

Across the pond, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched a strategic foresight initiative to promote broader, long-term thinking on future global trends in emergency management. Check out their two flagship documents.

Digital tools can also be used for disease surveillance and prevention, and supporting the dissemination of information for an appropriate response.

If you are eager to start your journey through foresight, you can also explore the future of urbanism and transport and help crowdsource the future. Or as a “virtual malaria hunter” you can support the routine job of diagnosing malaria everywhere.

Speaking of crowdsourcing, don’t forget to check out the great work the Edgeryders are doing as they help us spot the future in Armenia, Georgia, and Egypt.

Last but not least!

I’m proud to reveal our very own example of foresight-in-action, made expressly for the big event:

Our friends at Futurescaper have designed this easy-to-use ten minute survey on the future of citizen engagement in government.
It’s open to everybody so check it out and let us know: what does the future hold? 


  • Alex

    A great overview piece, thank you!