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India Future Foresights Workshop 2019 & more

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Manoj Kothari, September 29, 2019

Future Studies/Future Foresights is a domain that is still discussed and invested-in only by the 'developed' economies, as far as I know. It is difficult to appreciate the open-ended futures proposition when the quarterly or yearly results weigh heavily on the mind. But that is the need of the hour in the turbulent times we are in.

Since 2013 we have been working with Business Finland ( the public research and innovation funding organization under Finnish ministry of Economy and Employment, earlier known as TEKES) to map emerging India futures. Year after year this amazing organization essences out the emerging future scenario of multiple countries (not just India) and keeps the industry appraised - not just the Finnish companies, but the entire world community at large - through it's free public portal

It was a pleasure to again conduct a co-creation workshop this year, with the Business Finland team from India and HongKong along with chosen industry experts from India, in a close-knit cohort in Mumbai. Our team was joined by senior execs from Tata & Aditya Birla Group, from the startup world Oyo & Gaana, and from Financial Express apart from the Deputy Ambassador of Finland in India, the country manager for Business Finland in India and the Chief Consul of Innovation at Embassy of Finland in Hong Kong.

You will soon find out our report from this year on their portal (past reports are already there).

It was my curiosity to find out why Finnish government makes all these 'paid' reports, as an outcome from such workshops/studies, public. Why don't they put 100 locks and charge money to disseminate this information only to 'members', as one would naturally surmise. It was a pleasant surprise to know that they have weighed the physical and psychological 'cost' of putting the content in restricted access zone. Transparency, at times is a smart move. Beyond the force of the time (megatrend) 'open content policy' is something emerging economies should seriously thing about.

I did propose to the Indian government that as an emerging power India should also be mapping future global markets through a systematic centralized study but I was told that this is a domain for the industry chambers like CII, FICCI or ASSOCHAM. Indian companies are acquiring international brands and companies left and right. Indian entrepreneurs and even startups are gung-ho about their international presence and impact. Growing Indian arbitrage in the international security landscape adds even more a reason why India should be mandating and managing a whole repertoire of long range and mid-range future studies as a policy. Though a resurgent patriotism will suggest that we can do it all by ourselves, we shouldn't be shy of roping in friendly nations like Finland to helps us figure out a knowledge management methodology around this. Each exercise generates a massive data pool and can be easily lost in translation at multiple levels.

Melange of Futures Study with Design Thinking through Speculative Design, Design Fiction etc. provide an amazing way to address anxiety of disruptive future of brands, organizations, societies and the humanity at large. At Turian Labs we are increasingly gaining our Futures Study muscles in diverse domains. We are excited about what the future holds for us!

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