Understanding the future, designing the future: New BMBF brochure gives an overview of the key results of the second foresight cycle

In the foresight process of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the VDI Technology Center (VDI-TZ) have linked the societal change of the future with technological perspectives. Together with a large number of experts potentials for progress and innovations until 2030 were identified. The new publication by the BMBF “Zukunft verstehen, Zukunft gestalten – Deutschland 2030: Ergebnisse des zweiten Foresight Zyklus“ summarises the most significant outcomes and gives an overview of important research questions and current future debates. Furthermore, the brochure also contains selected “Stories from the future“. They describe how societal trends and technological changes could actually be reflected in everyday life in the year 2030.

The publication “Zukunft verstehen, Zukunft gestalten – Deutschland 2030: Ergebnisse des zweiten Foresight Zyklus“ focuses on the key elements of the second BMBF foresight cycle on the basis of which Fraunhofer ISI and the VDI Technology Center (VDI-TZ) have investigated possible societal change and technological trends up to 2030. The key objective was to understand future developments in order to launch research projects for these challenges in good time.

Considering societal changes – such as the do-it-yourself trend in an increasingly digital society – is of such importance as, in interaction with technological developments such as the 3 D print or the circular flow economy, they open up new research and technology perspectives and are therefore drivers for future innovations. Changing societal needs lead to different types of innovations, as for example frugal innovations, which are based on a reduced use of resources to create technically simple, affordable and robust products. Another key topic in the publication is the changing understanding of the private sphere in our society. 

Dr. Simone Kimpeler of the Competence Center Foresight at Fraunhofer ISI underlines the importance of the foresight process as an early warning system for research and innovation policies, “The insights into long-term opportunities and risks arising from the foresight process are now discussed more widely in public, for example within the framework of the current future forums of the BMBF, the Innovations- und Technikanalysen (ITA) or as a key topic of the Foresight Filmfestivals“.

The discussions on the trends and “Stories from the future“ trigger deep reflection of changing future framework conditions and are well suited to the creative development of new product ideas  or social innovations.  Thus the societal trends within this year‘s Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie of the BMBF are the point of departure for the development of specific solutions for societal challenges. For example, one of the award-winning project ideas, the “evidence-based ethnomedicine“, addresses the trend “frugal innovations“.

The publication can be downloaded at https://www.bmbf.de/pub/Zukunft_verstehen_Zukunft_gestalten.pdf.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.