On May 16, 2017, the Scenario Exploration System (SES) was at the core of the “EU-China Collaboration and Foresight Workshop: the future of innovation in China and what it means for EU-China collaboration“. This workshop was organised by the DRAGON-Star Plus project. The main objectives of the project are to support the European and Chinese research communities to establish collaborations under Horizon 2020 (the European Commission programme for research & innovation) and beyond and to provide a cooperation platform and tools to policy makers for facilitating and enhancing China-EU cooperation. An important part of the work of the project has been to run a foresight study on China-EU cooperation in science, technology and innovation at the horizon 2030. Over April and May 2017, the EU Policy Lab helped the Dragon Star Plus project team to develop the China edition v1.0 of the Scenario Exploration System to be used at the occasion of the workshop.

A detail of the new game board

However, in view of the number of participants expected at the workshop, we had to be ready to hold seven scenario exploration sessions in parallel, a first in the history of the SES.

This meant that six new scenario exploration masters had to be trained to make sure the event would be a success. The training took place in a collaborative open space in Shanghai two days before the workshop. It consisted in a first phase with Power Point slides explaining the Scenario Exploration System (SES) to the would-be scenario exploration masters followed by a hands-on scenario exploration session.

This was combined with the physical preparation of seven sets of the new China edition of the SES which had been printed by the partner Beijing Software Enterprise Advisory Center (BSEAC).

On May 16, the objectives of the EU-China collaboration and foresight workshop were two-fold:

  • to explore the future of innovation in China and what it means for China-EU collaboration on the long term, and
  • to identify jointly short-term opportunities for China-EU collaboration in science, technology and innovation.

The workshop was introduced by Laurent Bochereau, Minister Counsellor for science, technology and the environment at the EU Delegation in Beijing and counted on the participation Dr Hu Zhijian, President of the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development (CASTED). The morning was dedicated to a set of presentations on foresight and the use of megatrends to explore paths of cooperation between the EU and China towards 2030.

The afternoon consisted in a scenario exploration session with all participants (about half Chinese and half European) using the China edition v1.0 of the Scenario Exploration System. We ended up with five tables in parallel, the most we have had to date.

The exercise went very well and proved again that the SES platform works well across cultures. The SES has now been used on three continents (Europe, Asia and America) and we are looking forward to opportunities to use it in Africa. All newly trained moderators led their tables successfully and all participants engaged in an earnest and constructive fashion, including the Minister Counsellor of the EU Delegation and the President of CASTED. The overall atmosphere was very positive.

The EU Delegation has signaled that it would like the Dragon Star Plus project to hold more scenario exploration sessions in Beijing at the occasion of forthcoming meetings. The Dragon Star Plus project will also hold more sessions in Brussels in June with the people in charge of setting up the forthcoming ERICENA (European Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence in China).

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