Why are we doing this?
It's not possible to be an expert about the future – to know about something that hasn't yet happened. But it is valuable to explore what the future might look like: whether to avoid getting caught out or in order to influence what happens.
Given the major influence of technology in shaping our future, we think it’s important to get a handle on how cutting edge tech is changing the world right now.
We also want to improve the tools used to explore the future. Can new types of data analysis help us predict future events more accurately? Does imagining frightening future worlds help us avoid building them?
What are we doing?
Through our Hot Topics events, we support communities of innovators in specific technology areas. For each event we publish a range of online resources including blogs, presentations and interviews with industry experts. Sometimes we follow up these events with short briefing reports or roundtables with relevant government officials.
Nesta hosted Futurefest 2013, a two-day festival aimed at getting people to think creatively about the future. 2,000 people took part in debates, heard talks from leading thinkers and participated in immersive theatre, all in an effort to consider what they want in the future and how to make it happen.
In 2012, we started to fund research that explains and evaluates methods for thinking about the future. Nesta provides occasional funding or opportunities to collaborate on exploratory projects in this area. For example, we produced a series of future Londoner personas for a workshop in September 2013 in collaboration with several partners. We are also interested in data-driven methods for assessing emerging technology.