Sunday, June 25, 2017

Led by: Mark Philbrick, University of California, Berkeley
Description:  The idea of anticipatory governance implies an experimental and adaptive approach to policy and strategy. How can we begin putting it into practice with respect to emerging technologies? Specifically, what kinds of steps could the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) take now to improve its capacities for foresight and engagement, and to feed the insights gained thereby into its research strategies, and participating agency policies? Further, are there other points of constructive intervention beyond the NNI? For example, does the newly funded ARPA-E program within the Department of Energy constitute a similar opportunity? If so, what steps or measures might we take, and how should implementation proceed?

Research Agenda

  • What mix of institutional models will be most effective in implementing anticipatory governance, including, but not limited to:
    • University-based “Centers for Responsible Innovation”
    • Viral marketing of anticipatory governance “toolkits”
    • Anticipatory governance workshops for public, private, and academic sector practitioners
    • Formal processes of foresight and engagement at the Federal level
    • Other???
  • What kinds of services would a university-based “Center for Responsible Innovation” provide, and to whom?
  • What components should an anticipatory governance toolkit or workshop include?
  • How can we incorporate foresight and engagement into the solicitation development and selection processes of agencies that finance emerging technologies, e.g. ARPA-E?
  • What could case studies of past governance actions using the theoretical framework of foresight, engagement, and integration tell us about:
    • Where to focus future anticipatory activities, i.e. what kinds of things would it be helpful to anticipate in order to inform prospective governance decisions?
    • Design issues for anticipatory capacity-building and institutions?
    • Possible constructive intervention points in temporal and institutional terms?
  • How should anticipatory governance practices vary in diverse scales and contexts?
  • Who should have responsibility for initiating anticipatory activities?  Under what circumstances would an anticipatory governance approach be most likely to be effective?
  • How should we assess the success or failure of anticipatory governance activities?
  • How should we seek to extend anticipatory governance to non-academic realms, including but not limited to various levels of government, the private sector, NGOs, and the general public(s)?
  • What are the barriers to the deployment of anticipatory governance in various sectors and contexts? What kinds of strategies might address them effectively?
  • To what degree can anticipatory governance engage constructively with “problem-oriented science”, “critical response”, and other cognate programs?
  • Anticipatory actions are performative, and may affect both governance choices and future anticipations.  How should anticipatory governance institutions cope with this inherent reflexivity?

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