Exploring Futures for Policymaking

Exploring futures requires the acceptance of uncertainty and enthusiasm for openness. Focus is also required on ‘normative future exploration’: offering various policy choices with explicit estimates of the extent to which these are desirable and for whom. In the Netherlands this is a blind spot. That is the conclusion of WRR Investigation De menselijke beslisser. Over de psychologie van keuze en gedrag (WRR Investigation no. 22, 2010) (Summary in English Exploring Futures for Policymaking).

Blind spot for uncertainty and choices

Without a view of the future, policy is rudderless. Policymakers, experts and advisors therefore attempt to consider what the future may hold, using scientific knowledge. In doing so, it is often too easy to concentrate only on one type of future exploration: exploring a surprise-free future. However, proper future exploration takes uncertainty seriously and takes account of various possibilities.

Guidelines for considering the future

This compilation offers guidelines for using scientific knowledge in an innovative manner when considering the future. Pitfalls and challenges are also made transparent.