Small pacific states are large ocean states: lessons from Asia Pacific@ Hawaii Futures

Learning from each other’s experiences is a key tenet for all of SOIF’s foresight retreats and at our first regional event, Asia Pacific@ Hawaii Futures things were no different. SOIF and HRCFS were joined by participants, speakers and faculty from 7 different countries, including policy makers, senior analysts and strategists from the private, public and civil society sectors.

In honour of our Hawaii setting we asked participants to share their Name, Community and a Gift, rather than professional identity to create an entirely different level of openness and exchange from the outset. We were delighted by the candor that everyone showed throughout the retreat and how they come together to share insights and approaches to tackle common challenges and barriers in the context of the Asia Pacific.

Over the next few weeks, to continue this theme of openness and exchange we will be sharing some of the key themes, learnings and material from the retreat.

To get us started, here are five things that arose during the first steps of the Learning Journey, as we addressed a live question for a policy client looking out to AsiaPacific2040 – looking at regional energy diversification, nuclear safety, conflict, china economic performance.

  • Scoping the right question for one’s clients requires an attentiveness to scale, scope, and success. One must develop clear and transparent metrics for discussing outcomes and outputs with the client, especially when dealing with sensitive policy concerns.
  • Reframing the question and the context can be an incredibly powerful device. Consider your assumptions about small island pacific states. These can be equally viewed as large ocean states?
  • “Statements about the futures must be based on a theory of social change”.
  • There will be profound transformation due to technological advancement.  Accelerating rates of technological change is certainly a predominant driver of social change, but as to how this change takes place and who benefits from said change, its effects are highly contestable.
  • ICT is not egalitarian or democratic by default.  There is a need to question the embedded, optimistic assumption behind both the private and public sectors’ vision of technological futures.

Do you agree with these thoughts? Let us know know.

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