How governments research and communicate about the future


Governments around the world are increasingly recognizing that they have a responsibility for structured thought and research about the future, both to shape their own initiatives, and to assist companies and institutions in the nation to survive and thrive in times of change.

Examples of government futures groups include:
Egypt: Center for Futures Studies
France: Centre d’Analyse Stratégique
India: Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council
Indonesia: Badan Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional
Mexico: 2030 Vision
Singapore: Futures Group
Sweden: Institute for Futures Studies

Other governments, such as those of UK and USA, do extensive future studies, however these are distributed across a variety of departments and functions.

Many of these operations do a good job at analysis, however usually communicate in traditional government-speak, including weighty reports written in officious language.

Thus it is extremely refreshing to see some of the content being created by Singapore’s Futures Group. In fact its communications are not formally branded Singapore government, other than an occasional mention of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, where the unit resides. This frees them up to communicate (and think) outside government norms. Check it out!

The document below, Imagining the New Normal, is excellent. It provides an insightful view into important aspects of our future, such as Big Data, climate hacking, social enterprise, and innovation in India, using a wide variety of information formats and styles, including cartoons, infographics, charts, and iconography. The outcome is very likely far more useful stimulation of useful thinking about the future than would be created by a traditional government report.

Imagining the New Normal