Getting Ahead of the Curve: Fostering Innovation through Futures Thinking

Conference looks at how to achieve better outcomes by future-proofing current decisions


Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, DIT Director of Research and Enterprise; Professor Markku Wilenius, University of Turku, Finland; and Dr. Paul Shrubsole, Senior Research Scientist at Philips Research.

24th November 2010

At a one-day conference organised by the DIT Futures Academy, more than one hundred people were concentrating more on the positive possibilities for the future, rather than on the more pessimistic news stories of the present. 

Part of the Innovation Dublin festival, the conference took place in the Dublin City Council Wood Quay Venue.  Leading international futurists from some of the most innovative and future-focused organisations joined speakers from Dublin to showcase how the concept of ?futures approaches? can assist in the discovery of new emerging possibilities.   

Dr. Ela Krawczyk, Head of The Futures Academy at DIT, who organised the event, said its purpose was to inspire people to think differently.  ?The future is uncertain and we cannot predict it, but we can anticipate possible courses of action and may influence them.  Futures approaches are about translating emerging possibilities into market leading products, services and innovative business models, while at the same time laying foundations that reconcile economic viability with environmental and social responsibility. ?


Professor John Ratcliffe, President of The Futures Academy; Professor Ellen Hazelkorn; and Dr. Patrick Corsi, author and entrepreneur.  

Key speakers at the event included:

  • Dr. Paul Shrubsole, Senior Research Scientist at Philips Research, whose presentation concerned ?Sustainability Driving Innovation at Philips?
  • Professor Markku Wilenius, who is Professor of Future Studies at the University of Turku, Finland.  Professor Wilenius worked for a few years as senior vice President of Allianz Group, and his presentation was ?Futures thinking at Allianz?
  • Dr. Fabienne Goux-Baudiment, founder and the head of futures consulting firm, proGective, whose presentation was entitled ?How can Futures Thinking Foster Innovation?
  • Professor John Ratcliffe, President of The Futures Academy, and former Director of Built Environment at Dublin Institute of Technology.  Professor Ratcliffe?s presentation was entitled ?Scanning the Horizons: What are the key Areas of Change and Uncertainty?


Dr. Fabienne Goux-Baudiment, head of futures consulting firm, proGective; and Professor Markku Wilenius, University of Turku; and Professor John Ratcliffe, President of the Futures Academy

Speaking in the context of Innovation Dublin, Dr. Goux-Baudiment said futures thinking and innovation are both about change.  ?Innovation creates change while futures thinking studies it and advises on it.  Innovation is a breeding ground that feeds futures thinking, while in turn futures thinking helps to facilitate innovation.? 

Commenting on the hugely inspirational atmosphere in the conference room, Professor Ratcliffe said he was optimistic for Ireland?s future.  He believed that the ?subversive spirit that exists in the Irish genes? was also the key to change, innovation and a positive future.

Other speakers during the conference included Dr. Patrick Corsi, IKBM Belgium; Dr. Erik Overland, Subito! Research & Futures; and Dr. Larry O?Connell, National Economic and Social Council.

For more information please contact:

Melda Slattery, DIT Public Affairs ? 01 402 7138 / 087 230 9221 ? email

Back to Top