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The Navigator Network A Futurewatch Case Study Jane Cameron Ministry of Research, Science & Tech New Zealand 2 nd Annual Seville FTA Seminar Sept 28-29,

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Presentation on theme: "The Navigator Network A Futurewatch Case Study Jane Cameron Ministry of Research, Science & Tech New Zealand 2 nd Annual Seville FTA Seminar Sept 28-29,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Navigator Network A Futurewatch Case Study Jane Cameron Ministry of Research, Science & Tech New Zealand 2 nd Annual Seville FTA Seminar Sept 28-29, 2006

2 What is the Navigator Network?

3 The Navigator Network is a New Zealand-based national S&T scanning network. It has been set up in association with the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) to: –identify emerging science trends and innovations (particularly in biotechnology and nanotechnology); and –to further explore those that may raise significant economic, social or environmental issues for New Zealand.

4 The project brings together individuals and organisations from the science and policy communities with insights into the dynamics of emerging science, technology and social change, both globally and in New Zealand. The primary end-user of the Networks findings are government agencies. Findings from the network provide input for policy and operations across government, including science policy, regulatory settings and public engagement.

5 Background What are the roots of this initiative?

6 The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification In 2000, the New Zealand Government convened a Royal Commission on Genetic Modification to look into and report on the issues surrounding GM in New Zealand. The Royal Commission recommended that New Zealand develop a capability for what they called: biotechnology futurewatch

7 The New Zealand Biotechnology Strategy The Government endorsed this recommendation in the New Zealand Biotechnology Strategy (2003)New Zealand Biotechnology Strategy MoRST was charged with the implementation of futurewatch to: strengthen ways for New Zealand to forsee and make timely responses to emerging issues and opportunities relevant to biotechnology

8 What do we mean by the term futurewatch?

9 The futurewatch approach is about: looking at the edge – identifying potentially important things at the margins of current thinking, including both future issues and things at the periphery. in an open way – bringing in a range of perspectives, considering uncertainties as well as certainties, being mindful of assumptions, imagining different possible futures, and leaving room for creativity that considers the big picture – such as interactions in whole systems, thinking about risks as well as opportunities, and considering wider time horizons (history as well as future).

10 Methodological Approaches The over-arching term futurewatch therefore encompasses a range of futures methodologies. Most specifically, as a means of gathering information & thinking about emerging S&T trends: Environmental scanning Systems thinking And as approaches to assessing & exploring the implications of these: Technology assessment Dialogic methods to facilitate conversations about the implications of emerging technologies

11 Implementing Biotechnology Futurewatch

12 Phase I: Orientation Building Internal Capability (2003-04) In Phase I of the futurewatch implementation we oriented ourselves and built internal capability by completing a very broad global scan of emerging developments in biotechnology. The scan: Futurewatch: Biotechnologies to 2025 identifies emerging biotechnology trends in: Health, Primary Production, Industrial & Environmental Biotechnology; and Security and Defence

13 Impacts of Biotechnologies to 2025 The trends and issues identified in the 2025 report have: provided a baseline of trends with which to compare the emerging developments identified by the Navigator Network; resulted in follow-up work in stem cells and industrial biotechnology; and been used as an input for the OECDs Bioeconomy to 2030 project.


15 Phase II Putting in place a distributed S&T scanning network: The Navigator Network

16 MoRSTs has four key objectives for the Navigator Network: 1.Support discussion and a collective understanding of new and emerging science and technologies, how they may influence New Zealands future, and what actions may be required to address their challenges and opportunities. 2.Gather, synthesise and share information and support linkages in the exchange and convergence of ideas between policy and science communities. 3.Support the development of a culture of early thinking across government and more broadly; 4.Develop, apply and profile a New Zealand approach to environmental scanning.

17 At the core of the Navigator Network is the central scanning activity To date a key focus of the Network has been to appoint and train a core group of scanners – researchers and experts active and aware of developments in biotechnology, nanotechnology and the socio-political context for science.

18 The Network is specifically designed for New Zealand conditions

19 Interpreting the New Zealand context On the whole New Zealanders are a technologically literate people with a good existing awareness of emerging technology. New Zealanders also place importance on considering developments in a wide social, environmental, cultural and economic context.

20 New Zealanders have a particularly deep connection with the natural environment. This in turn has a strong influence on the set of values we bring to our views on emerging biotechnologies.

21 Royal Commission on Genetic Modification New Zealand has a small, horizontally connected government sector. Connections between agencies are therefore relatively easy to foster. A particular focus of these horizontal relationships are complex, cross-cutting issues, like emerging technologies.

22 New Zealands science capacity is predominantly in public owned research institutes and universities. But, compared with other countries, there is limited capacity in central government.

23 New Zealand has a strong biological-base to our economy with around 65% of total goods exports coming from the primary sector: agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishing & food & beverage.

24 Specific Design Features to Achieve Outcomes

25 Design Feature One: A New Zealand-centric strategic focus While the scope of the Navigator Network broadly encompasses biotechnology and nanotechnology, areas of strategic focus for the New Zealand context have been selected. Given the importance of agriculture to New Zealands economic & societal wellbeing the initial strategic focus of the Network is agricultural biotechnology and food and their interface with the environmental and social context.

26 Design Feature Two: Arms length from Government Although MoRST is an active participant in the project team, the Network is managed by an independent team. Placing the management of the Network external to government was deliberate to ensure that it could, if necessary, provide independent advice which can challenge existing institutional knowledge, world-views and horizons.

27 Design Feature Three: A Knowledge Creation rather than Data Mining Approach Many of our objectives in designing this initiative are more oriented towards achieving softer outcomes (like supporting discussion and shared understanding between the policy and science communities) The process of interpreting the implications of the scanning reports for New Zealand is therefore, geared more towards creating knowledge through social processes than harder- edged scientometric data-mining & technical assessment.

28 The Scanning Reporting Process Draft Scanning Report Quarterly reporting by contracted scanners Synthesis of scanning observations into broad trends, thematic areas Scanning Workshop Wider set of participants Theme areas (ie. agricultural stakeholders, policy-makers and opinion leaders) Workshop discussion using trends identified in Draft Scanning Report and discussion of the implications of these for New Zealand. Updated Scanning Report Report updated to reflect value-add from the Workshop process

29 Design Feature Four: Facilitating Uptake of Network Reporting To facilitate uptake government officials are explicitly embedded in the process. This is achieved in two ways, officials act both as: scanners – feeding their own scanning observations into the reporting cycles and thus capturing the policy context; and interpreters – more senior officials attending the workshop sessions to offer their own insights into future implications for New Zealand. The results of the Network are also channelled, where possible, through relevant existing networks and channels such as cross-departmental officials groups

30 Design Feature Five: Building Futures Capability One of the objectives of the Navigator Network is to build futures capability across the science and government sectors. A primary foci of the Network is therefore to focus on training and developing the skills of the core group of scanners. Putting the effort into training is resulting in more robust reporting as the scanners are learning over time the truly new compared to the new to me.

31 Design Feature Six: Built in Action Learning The Network has a built in action research component. This emphasis on reflective practice gives this initiative a degree of flexibility which ensures that it is constantly focusing on whats working best to achieve the projects objectives and can re-orient its course accordingly.

32 Whats Working Well?

33 The Network is already resulting in positive impacts Were successfully building futures capability in the science and policy spheres Stronger linkages are being built between the policy and science communities; Network outputs are being channeled into a range of cross- government forums (both from methodological and subject specific perspectives); and New cross-sectoral discussions about the future of food are in train that wouldnt otherwise have occurred.

34 Next Steps

35 Evaluation planned: early 2007 The types of questions that will be explored further in the evaluation include: Have better or more timely decisions have been made because of the discussions or insights arising from the Navigator Network? Does this system approach to scanning better support governments readiness to emerging technology developments than existing organisational approaches?

36 For further information: The Navigator Network: The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology:

37 Key Contacts: Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Katherine Silvester – Principal Adviser Jane Cameron – Adviser, Futurewatch Navigator Network Project Team Dr Barbara Nicholas – Project Leader Karen Cronin – Project Team Navigator Network:

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