Over the last two weeks, a number of developments related to the JRC Scenario Exploration System (SES) took place, both with people attending SES sessions and with requests for follow up.

SES nominated in the 2016 Most Significant Future Works award

This year, the SES was nominated as a contender in the 2016 Most Significant Futures Works award for works completed from 2013 to 2015. This award is delivered by the international Association of Professional Futurists. As a result, on May 24, the SES was demonstrated to Peter Padbury a member of the award jury and Chief Futurist, Scanning and Foresight, Policy Horizons Canada, Government of Canada, in a 45-minute video conference call. John Sweeney and Aaron Rosa, who were the source of much of the know-how used to develop the SES, also attended the call. This demonstration was necessary as the SES is quite different from the academic works usually submitted to the award. We expect to hear the results from this nomination in late July.

Recent exploratory sessions

On Friday, May 27, we hosted a scenario exploration session with a team of 5 people under the leadership of Prof. Cathy Macharis from the Free University of Brussels (VUB). This multidisciplinary team is working on the issue of mobility in Belgium and is looking for ways to engage constructively with a range of stakeholders over the future of mobility. They wanted to understand better the JRC SES in order to assess whether they could use it to fulfil their needs. Of course, the exploration session focussed on the theme of mobility. The participants decided to take roles as Brussels minister of transport, Prime Minister, the Dis-Tribute company (engaged in parcels delivery) and an umbrella organisation from civil society called Climate Coalition. The session took place in a very positive atmosphere and we are looking forward to following up with the VUB.

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Session with the VUB team

On Wednesday, June 1, we convened a group of participants from the NANO2ALL project consortium (funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme), from the JRC Task Force on Knowledge Centres, Competence Centres and Knowledge Sharing, from the University of Geneva and from the Department Chancery and Management of the Flemish government. We were a large enough group to hold two scenario exploration sessions in parallel. Three of the participants had already experienced the SES. The others had come to understand how the SES platform could be applied to engage a broad range of stakeholders using socio-technical scenarios around nano-technologies, how to use the sustainable transitions edition of the SES in a business course for entrepreneurs and to explore the relationship between policy makers and the providers of scientific advice.

playing SES

SES board

On Thursday, June 2, Cristian Matti, from the Climate-KIC of the European Institute of Technology, visited the EU Policy Lab. After having experienced scenario exploration using the JRC Scenario Exploration System (SES), he saw its potential for application in the stakeholders’ engagement work of the Climate-KIC (for more information you can see their learning platform) . The structure and systemic thinking dynamics applied by the JRC SES fit well within a practical toolbox developed by the Climate-KIC to build capacity for the transition towards a sustainable future. The first discussion to explore how the JRC SES could be adapted to improve some techniques used in back-casting was successful and we are looking forward to more operational meetings soon.

A new version of the game on European agriculture scenarios?

The day after, we met with colleagues from the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development working on general aspects of agricultural markets. This unit deals with the macroeconomic analysis of European agriculture. After having experienced the JRC SES, they expressed their interest in creating a version tailored to scenarios of European agriculture that support the possible reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The objective is to use the reflections generated by the SES to complement the analyses based on the results from classic economic modelling exercises.

We are glad to see growing interest towards the Scenario Exploration System for professional applications. Our call for expression of interest was very successful and we will soon be able to share printable files for all interested parties who would like to make a SES set. We are looking forward to more dissemination activities and to follow up on collaboration opportunities.

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