• Working Paper


    Yee-Kuang HENG, Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo

Futures Ecosystems and Nudges for Futures Literacy – the case of the UK and Singapore

The UN Secretary General’s ‘Our Common Agenda” report in 2021 warned of a need to be “ready for the potentially more extreme, or even existential, threats that may lie ahead of us” and called for better anticipation of future risks through the establishment of a UN Futures Lab. The stakes are high: the 2023 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was described as a “survival guide for humanity” by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Can policymakers be better informed of existential risks (X-R) so as to make better judgements and choices regarding their potential effects? To examine this question, this paper brings together insights from diverse literatures, including “nudges” from behavioural economics; and futures studies on importance of “futures literacy”. Drawing on interviews with civil servants in “futures” units, two comparative cases are presented: the United Kingdom and Singapore, both states concerned with strategic anticipation that have invested resources into “futures literacy” capacity-building, leading to the distinct emergence of what this paper terms “futures ecosystems”.

The full report can be downloaded below.