Article by Franco Accordino from the September 2013 issue of Philosophy & Technology (Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 321–332).
This paper presents the Futurium platform used by Digital Futures, a foresight project launched by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT). Futurium was initially developed with the primary purpose of hosting and curating visions and policy ideas generated by Digital Futures (Digital Futures was launched in July 2011 by DG CONNECT’s Director General Robert Madelin following a prior DG CONNECT exercise called Digital Science.). However, it has turned into a platform on which to experiment with new policymaking models based on scientific evidence and stakeholder participation, referred to in this paper as ‘Policy Making 3.0’. The platform hosts an online foresight toolkit to facilitate the joint creation of ideas to help design future policies. It leverages the potential of social networks, open data, semantic and knowledge mining technologies as well as participatory brainstorming techniques to engage stakeholders and harness their views and creativity to better inform policies that matter to them. The Futurium distinguishes between different variables, reflecting the emotional vs. rational mindsets of the participants, and offers the possibility to frame the engagement and co-creation process into multiple phases of a workflow. Futurium was developed to support Digital Futures, but its open architecture makes it easily adaptable to any policymaking/decision-making context where thinking ahead, participation, scientific evidence and agility are needed. Futurium is an early prototype implementation of the Policy Making 3.0 model, which is a long-term vision requiring further investigation and experimentation. The Futurium production website can be seen here: ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/futurium.