What is strategic foresight?

Foresight is a tool for peering into the future. Pioneered decades ago by public and private sector organizations alike, foresight is a practice area which maps, assesses and forecasts future trends and their interaction. It is an iterative game, which thrives on diversity of input and perspectives, and an essential first step in developing strategies to deal with alternative futures. In a world that is always changing, we believe foresight should become a global mindset.

For a decade, the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative (FSR) has been a global leader in the strategic foresight space. Under the direction of Dr. Mathew Burrows, who formerly led the National Intelligence Council’s quadrennial Global Trends studies, FSR has identified the world’s key trends and uncertainties and charted pathways to a more prosperous, stable, and peaceful future. FSR is considered a gold standard foresight practice within the United States and around the world.

The issues

FSR Webpage Global Trends

Global trends and risks

The new decade is in rapid flux and is characterized by geopolitical turbulence, economic complexity, technological disruption, demographic shifts and social interconnectedness. In this changing environment, we focus on identifying the key trends and risks which will fundamentally shape the future of humanity and global affairs. Our work encompasses a wide range of issues, from demography and urbanization to migration, power transitions and global governance, but is always driven by the principle that foresight is a key mindset for decision-making.

FSR Webpage Tech

Technology and innovation

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is already underway. Technological development will fundamentally alter the global geopolitical landscape by changing governance structures, challenging human ingenuity and demanding innovative policy responses. Our team analyzes the political, socioeconomic, ecological, and security implications of emerging technologies, maps the evolution of innovation ecosystems and distills blueprints for entrepreneurship, in the Unites States and globally.

FSR Webpage Geopolitics

Geopolitics

The global power shift towards Asia, the United States’ relative decline and the emergence of transnational threats such as climate change are pulling at the threads of the post-World War II international system. Our team’s research discerns the outline of the dawning multipolar order by exploring power transitions, geopolitical shifts, and civil society movements. At the same time, we seek to challenge the assumptions which have been underpinning US foreign policy for the last 70 years and adapt them for current times.

FSR Webpage Nontrad Security

Non-traditional security challenges

In the 21st century, the definition of security and its global architecture are changing under the pressure of transnational, non-traditional threats such as migration, climate change and inequality, in an unresponsive global governance system. FSR is reframing security policy paradigms by bringing into the fold cutting-edge issues such as environmental security, peacebuilding, resilience and illicit trade, and providing policy solutions for the international community, states and citizens.

Featured in-depth research & reports

The Initiative leverages in-house expertise and cutting-edge tools such as data analytics, modeling, and simulations to provide pioneering research and analysis about the most important challenges of today and tomorrow.

Leadership

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Experts

Content

Wed, Aug 5, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in The Spokesman-Review on the development of US strategy towards China

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Politics & Diplomacy

Fri, Jul 31, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in Newsweek on the role for allies in the US response to China

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Indo-Pacific

Wed, Jul 29, 2020

What World Post COVID-19?: A Conversation with Dr. Joe Mascaro

Dr. Joe Mascaro, director of education and research at Planet, discusses the effects of the pandemic on the environment, and its implications for energy transitions and earth sciences research.

Blog Post by Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative

Climate Change & Climate Action Coronavirus

Tue, Jul 28, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in VOA Korea on the US stance on DPRK denuclearization

In the News by Atlantic Council

Arms Control Korea

Sat, Jul 25, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in Straits Times on the future of US China policy

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, Jul 23, 2020

What World Post COVID-19?: A Conversation with Mr. Greg Lindsay

Greg Lindsay, director of applied research at NewCities, outlines the implications of the pandemic for the future of cities and shares suggestions for how communities could emerge from this crisis stronger than before.

Blog Post by Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative

Civil Society Climate Change & Climate Action

Mon, Jul 20, 2020

Manning in The National Interest: Coronavirus Meets Donald Trump’s Wonderland: What the Facemask Wars Reveal

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus Politics & Diplomacy

Mon, Jul 20, 2020

What World Post COVID-19?: A Conversation with Dr. Kim Roberts

Dr. Kim Roberts, security studies expert, discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed thinking around national security and the US role in the world, and outlines the uncertainties ahead.

Blog Post by Anca Agachi, Peter Engelke, Kim Roberts

China Coronavirus

Fri, Jul 17, 2020

Robert Manning interviewed on StratNews about China’s actions in the South China Sea

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Conflict

Thu, Jul 16, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in Straits Times on South China Sea tensions

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Conflict