What is Foresight? Video Series

Policy Horizons Canada commissioned a series of short videos on the subject "What is Foresight?" that have been conceived, authored and co-produced by Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab), together with students from OCAD University's Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) and Graphic Design programs.

Produced in English and French versions, and fully captioned for inclusive accessibility (AODA-compliant), the work is co-directed by sLab's Director of Research, Greg Van Alstyne and SFI graduate, Zan Chandler. The production team is rounded out by OCAD U undergrad research assistants Alex Appugliesi and Jazeen Hollings, who developed original visual sequences and edited the video.

The video is composed in the form of three short segments approximately 2-1/2 minutes each which may be viewed back to back or separately.

In English: 
What is foresight?
Why use foresight?
Horizons' Foresight Process

En français:
Prospective: ce que cest? 
Le processus d'Horizons de politiques
Le Processus d'Horizons de politiques

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/what-is-foresight-video-series.

 

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 1:15pm
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne

Digital Governance

Digital governance is the central challenge facing governing institutions and societies in the coming decades where information knows no boundaries, power is dispersed and authority and accountability need to be reconceived. What is digital governance and why is 'digital' a governance issue?

Westminster parliamentary democracy is widely credited with a high capacity to adapt to societal evolution. Its ability to adapt to the realities of a digital society is putting this claim to the test. Westminster governments were never designed with the digital era in mind. Two forces – digital and governance – are meeting like tectonic plates, shifting the landscape and giving rise to new peaks and valleys around key governance questions that all Canadians need to be concerned about: Who has real power? How should decisions be made? How can all players make their voices heard and ensure that account is rendered?

Digital Governance, an sLab research project, explores unprecedented challenges and opportunities facing governing institutions and associated groups in the digital era. Through research and engagement activities the project develops a network equipped to understand these dynamics and to guide innovation. The initial partners are University of Victoria, Institute on Governance (IOG), OCAD University, Dalhousie University, and MIGHTY Purpose. Together with additional partners (to be identified) the Digital Governance team will build a digital governance research network.

Project Objectives:

  • Provide a platform for a national conversation on the issues and possibilities of digital technology and governance. The partnership has established itself as a Digital Governance Commission – a modernized, virtual royal commission that combines visibility, engagement and evidence based research, and that engages Canadians to develop practical solutions.
  • Recognize that the discussion must move beyond technological change to an understanding of the disruptive nature of digital transformation as an historic opportunity to recast the role and responsibilities of governments, citizens and other actors.
  • Explore emerging governance challenges and possibilities, but also specific practice areas such as evidence based policy analysis, advising ministers and legislators, citizen engagement, modernizing service delivery and realigning administrative systems to meet new and ever increasing demands on the part of governments at all levels.
  • Examine the new and emerging governance challenges of the Westminster system in light of the advent of digital, and to determine the transformative and evolutionary changes required of government and non-government actors in an evolving democratic environment across Canada.
  • Determine and articulate the new, core competencies required of all stakeholders and institutions (e.g. politicians, public servants, citizens, the private sector, and students) in the digital age.
  • Design a research program with windows of opportunity in mind in order to maximize impact and generate practical impetus for change.
  • Articulate the value brought to key stakeholders and include open, transparent and participatory methodologies on an ongoing basis.

 

For further information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/digital-governance

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 

Large text reading "Digital Governance: transforming government practice in the diigtal era"
SSHRC Logo
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 12:30pm
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne
Peter Jones

Visualizing Emergence

A project currently in development, Visualizing Emergence seeks to explore and visualize phenomena of emergence in data representing technologically mediated human communication and exchange within a techno-social complex adaptive system (CAS).

Using textual analysis and other data as substrate, research will focus on data from CIV-DDD partners, IBM Cognos and public sources, possibly including Twitter and other accessible APIs. In time we expect to aggregate data from additional sources. Leveraging senior researcher and student contributions from OCAD and York Universities, the project will explore and exploit a synthesis of scientific, artistic and aesthetic techniques, with software from partners including IBM / Cognos.

Project challenges include:

  • Finding the right data set; evaluating data quality
  • Representing, managing multi-variant data
  • Models, metaphors; legibility, navigation

Visualizing Emergence will examine model-based scientific visualization of complex data sets as well as emergent systems, data mining techniques and visualization. We will test, review and select the most appropriate software approach for developing the data models and generating dynamic results. The work will also deliver findings tied to the following CIV-DDD project aims: appropriateness of 2D or 3D visualizations, visualization aesthetics, and use of specific vs. generic tools.

 

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/visualizing-emergence .

Visualizing Emergence is supported by NCE-GRAND. This project is funded in part by the Centre for Information Visualization and Data Driven Design established by the Ontario Research Fund (ORF).

 

Sponsor(s): 
Photograph of sLab members Greg Van Alstyne and Trevor Haldenby working at a table
NCE logo
CIVDDD logo
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:45am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne

2020 Media Futures

2020 Media Futures is an ambitious, multi-industry strategic foresight project designed to understand and envision what media may look like in the year 2020; what kind of cross-platform Internet environment may shape our media and entertainment in the coming decade; and how our firms and organizations can take action today toward capturing and maintaining positions of national and international leadership.

The purpose of 2020 Media Futures is to use open-source strategic foresight for the benefit of the creative cluster — the book, magazine, music, film, television and interactive digital media industries – to help organizations and individuals “future-proof” themselves and their creative livelihoods. These creative professionals include writers, filmmakers, producers, music label executives, game developers, programmers, and other media franchise specialists. To help them prepare for the future, we employed strategic foresight research methods and practices. You can learn about our strategic foresight research methodology and project structure. But before recounting that material, we present the heart of the project, the narrative and contextual scenarios developed through this consultative, participatory process.

These scenarios are the result of analytical and synthetic work described in the pages that follow: horizon scanning for signals and trends in consumer behaviour and the media industries; collaborative workshops with industry experts and professionals; and sense-making exercises led by sLab team members to understand the data that we gathered.

In many ways, the scenarios were the ultimate goal of the project: four unique visions of possible futures that members of the creative cluster could read, critique and engage with. But as we discovered, the research process that led to their writing was its own reward. Ontario’s creative community is diverse, highly opinionated and innovative.

Through our interactions together we gained experiential learning about the needs of these industries, but also a rich understanding of their hopes and fears for the future. Our participants in turn clearly took advantage of opportunities to establish new network connections with one another at our events. We are grateful for the honesty and energy of their contributions to this project.

–Greg Van Alstyne and Madeline Ashby

Other Partners Include:

  • Achilles Media
  • Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
  • Breakthrough New Media
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
  • Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA)
  • Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC)
  • Corus Entertainment
  • GestureTek
  • GlassBOX Television
  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE)
  • Marblemedia
  • National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
  • Nordicity
  • OCAD University
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
  • Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), Sheridan Institute
  • St. Joseph Media
  • Universal Music Canada
  • York University

 

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/2020-media-futures.

Advisor: 
2020 Media Futures: Cover Image featuring title in white font on a purple background with OCADU and sLab logos
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:30am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne
Lenore Richards
Suzanne Stein

SSHRC Imagining Canada's Future: Dialogic Design Co-Lab

"In the face of intensified urbanization worldwide, what do we see as the highest impact social and human challenges for Southern Ontario, now through 2030?"

Southern Ontario is witnessing increasing urbanization, and with it a host of changes, challenges and opportunities.  For example, younger people are known as early adopters of new technologies, yet older people are experiencing technologies and their consequences in surprising ways. By 2050, we expect a third of Canadians to be older than 65.  What kinds of services, societies, and care do we envision to support our communities in the face of these changes?  

In an unprecedented study, Canada's research council for social science and humanities, SSHRC, has commissioned six regional panels to understand and imagine possible futures for the country in a global context. Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) at OCADUniversity is leading University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Ryerson, Windsor and York universities and our combined intellectual communities.

sLab's participatory action research engages a diverse panel of academics, professionals, and students for a Co-laboratory workshop organized and facilitated according to principles of the Structured Dialogic Design methodology.  Dialogic Design is a multi-technique methodology based on human and computer-facilitated structuring of inquiry for a complex social or civic concern. Democratic by design, SDD produces strong consensus while avoiding cognitive biases, by adopting a series of language structures that conserve participant autonomy, authenticity, and shared commitment while mitigating group cognitive bias, power bias, and content complexity. 

The OCAD U-led project centred on an Expert Panel structured as a Dialogic Design (DD) Co-Laboratory to gather primary data, together with an Online Survey, a Public Workshop, and documentation of these activities on the Web. 

Focusing on urbanization as a key regional and global driver of change, the Expert panel was asked:

In the face of increasing urbanization worldwide, what future challenges
do we anticipate for Southern Ontario, now through 2030?

91 challenges were identified by the Expert Panel. On the Top Ten list are those challenges that are most influential on the other challenges, and highly related to the triggering question:

  1. Advancing a diverse and inclusive society
  2. Enabling equitable access to ICT
  3. Governing ourselves responsively
  4. Designing sustainable cities
  5. Overcoming fear of change
  6. Including indigenous rights in planning
  7. Transitioning to a digital economy
  8. Upgrading transportation systems
  9. Stewarding regional ecosystems
  10. Supporting our aging population

A follow up survey, and a public Design with Dialogue session correlated and expanded on the Expert Panel workshop findings.

In naming and assessing the influence of these future challenges, the expert panel considered both increasing urbanization globally and in Southern Ontario. Though urbanization trends will be most apparent in Canada’s large cities, all cities and communities will be affected by the transitions represented by the challenges.

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/sshrc-imagining-canadas-future-dd-co-lab.

 

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

A photograph of Southern Ontario at night taken from the International Space Station
SSHRC Logo
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 10:15am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne
Peter Jones
Suzanne Stein

sBook: Futures of the Book

The goals of the sBook project are to develop a unifying information architectural framework for readers, writers and publishers that ties together emerging standards; and to invent new forms of functionality and interoperability to achieve our design vision. The name “sBook” refers to the qualities of the intended experience:

  • Simple: the pleasure and beauty of human readable pages
  • Social: developing context and community through social media tools
  • Searchable: the power and practicality of electronic text
  • Smart: intelligent recommendations both within and beyond the work
  • Sustainable: effective use of material and energy throughout the lifecycle
  • Synchronized: can be updated by author and publisher
  • Scalable: open platform supporting new products, services, experiences

sLab's vision goes beyond the limited model of most existing ebook systems (such as Amazon’s Kindle) by fully supporting annotating, quoting, comparing, searching, taking notes, and sharing, a process which may be described as “active reading” and which many commentators view as the threshold that must be met for the support of true knowledge work rather than simple leisure reading [Golovchinsky 2008, Sellen and Harper 2002]. sLab claims that emerging digital text infrastructures (search and retrieval systems, social media) are increasingly good at facilitating collective and institutional textual practices such as citing, referencing, curating, publishing, managing, etc. However, they are not very good at facilitating personal textual practices such as highlighting, commenting, annotating, etc. This bias stands in contrast to that of paper texts, which facilitate personal practices while making social and institutional ones more complex.

A number of competing systems, open and proprietary, exist for sorting, delivering and engaging with texts. The focus of this project will be to explore why, when and how these solutions need to inter-operate, and to develop new pathways, 'middleware', and interface technologies that assist in connecting the pieces and experiences together. The first design task is to create a framework that maps and relates emerging standards, systems, and devices, working together and with external partner organizations to create innovative bridging of digital and paper text solutions.

Following from this phase will be the development of prototype displays, applications, and devices that seek to make use of and extend this framework, calling attention to the advantages of an open, shared and accessible infrastructure. In addition to these human experiential benefits, the sBook framework seeks to foster significant advances in sustainability by developing expectations and business models for print-on-demand, reducing needless inventory. The development of the sBook framework starts from three specific attributes of reading we see as important and in need of critical attention and material support:

  • Reading occurs in a variety of spaces, places and at different times
  • Reading is social practice that involves other people, collectives, and institutions
  • Reading is an active process in the productive trajectory of intellectual work (that might include thinking, writing, making, linking, etc) rather than a passive process of consumption.

Given these precepts, the sBook framework is oriented towards conserving the valuable aspects of both digital and paper-based text. It is obvious that current text solutions foster and develop these aspects of reading to different degrees -- and for different reasons. Digital text solutions make personal rather than institutional distribution of texts more possible, but are currently limited in order to maintain traditional economic models of publishing. Ebook software standards and devices make markup and highlighting of text (important aspects of active reading) difficult, whereas paper copies encourage these practices. Key to our understanding of these issues is that they involve material and technical development as well as institutional change. The sBook framework does not discriminate between social, organizational, and technical development – it shall encompass all of these.

 

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/sbook-futures-of-the-book.

 

NCE logo

Advisor: 
Sponsor(s): 
Friday, October 20, 2017 - 12:30pm
Lab Member: 
Greg Van Alstyne
Evi Hui
Garry Ing

Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism

Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism addresses this issue through an interactive mobile platform that allows readers to get a snapshot of the news stories that are being disseminated by mobile "citizen" journalists as compared with professional journalist's syndicated reports. 

This project presents an interactive aesthetic visualization of the Twitter data feed and correlating professional news sources' headlines. 

Sponsor(s): 
Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism Logo
Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism Page 8
Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism Page 9
Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism Page 10
Visualizing the Impacts of Mobile Journalism Page 11
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 3:30pm
Lab Member: 
Martha Ladly
Greg Van Alstyne
Genevieve Maltais
Jonathan Resnick
Britt Wray