This action research project had an explicit focus on co-creating and sharing generated knowledge and an experiential knowledge-transfer orientation, operating at multiple levels: Integrated team, buddy system between individual team members, workshops and active participation in design, analysis and conclusions. The experiential learning used a strategic foresight investigation of the futures of Canadian identities, which allowed the practice of various elements of the complexity toolkit.
1. How might we improve Canadian Heritage (PCH)'s capabilities to engage in the increasingly complex issues facing it?
2. How might PCH be better prepared for the possible evolutions of Canadian identities?
1. Provide PCH with a sound methodological approach – action research – in relation to the ways in which knowledge-sharing, -generation and -transfer are achieved.
2. Provide guidance to develop internal capacity related to ways to:
• Reframe the chosen problem through the development of multiple futures;
• Identify key challenges, insights and intervention points through an assessment of implications across these multiple futures; and importantly,
• Use new, participatory and collaborative problem-solving approaches to deploy such insights and to inform and influence systems change that can improve PCH agility and resilience in the face of inevitable challenges associated with the emergent future.
To provide experiential learning of a number of complexity tools, a framework was needed that offered enough complexity to provide opportunities for using the various tools of the toolkit. Strategic Foresight offers such a wide framework.
The topic for the foresight investigation was selected such that it presented a topic directly related to the mandate of PCH, which enhances interest and incentive to pursue the topic itself rather than focusing on individual tools and their concepts.
The introduction of multiple futures and identities, was challenging enough to the established orthodoxy to reduce boredom and raise curiosity and engagement throughout the project.
The foresight investigation followed a modified 2x2 matrix method incorporating the participatory elements specific to the foresight practice at OCAD University.
In addition to the transfer of knowledge and capacity building, the project yielded 268 relevant signals of changes, a set of 14 trends, and an analysis of 12 underlying drivers. It also uncovered the top critical uncertain drivers for the PCH team and built 4 scenarios using the top two such uncertainties. Using the scenarios, a rich list of implications and a set of strategic perspectives were developed to assist the MTP process in articulating policies and strategies.
One of the results from this project is that PCH hired 5 SFI students to look in more detail at process for embedding artists in policy development processes. This new project builds partially on the final report of this project. The PI of this project has been invited to be a member of the Steering Committee of the new project.
All artefacts of the foresight process as well as the final report are property of PCH, who can decide what to release publicly and when.
The following video was developed by PCH during the workshops conducted and was distributed to all workshop participants in English and French:
L’avenir des identités canadiennes (Français)
The Future of Canadian Identities (English)