People around the world imagine futures differently. These imaginations of the future are most clearly found in the fictions they produce (Future Fictions or Speculative Fiction; SF). SF acts as a repository of ideas related to societal change, technological change, climate change, and other kinds of change. How do we take these different imaginations, and use them to drive societal innovations? How do we work with the complexity of visions around the world, not merely in its richer parts but in its poorer, or developing parts, to think new kinds of futures: economic, cultural, political? And how do we scale and translate these visions for use in policy and policy-adjacent contexts, how can they inspire new social and technological developments? While the need for these fictions to drive innovation is by now well-known at research and policy level, the core problem is that there have been no methodologies, no tools, and no frameworks that acknowledge the deep complexity of global, creative imaginaries of the future and feed them directly into new ways of thinking about societal challenges.
In the PoC-CoFutures Literacy, we will take people’s imaginations of the future, especially as found in SF, and systematize the methods used by creative professionals globally to imagine futures. These creative methods will be combined with methods used in innovations, scenario and policy work to understand, anticipate and generate futures. Together, this will form the knowledge solution we term CoFutures Literacy. The PoC will develop this knowledge solution by taking some of the central ideas from diverse imaginations of the future worldwide from SF research done by the ERC-STG CoFUTURES (2020-2024), combine these with existing models of futures and innovation research, and crystallize these functions into three modules of the knowledge solution: a) a comparative methodological toolkit, b) a research and design handbook, and, c) an open media and lecture library.