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, May 27, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in CNN on the US strategy toward Hong Kong

In the News by Atlantic Council

China East Asia

Sat, May 23, 2020

Mathew Burrows and Bob Manning in The Hill about a global “Manhattan Project” to end pandemics

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus English

Mon, May 18, 2020

Mathew Burrows quoted in Newsweek on governmental watchlists

In the News by Atlantic Council

English Intelligence

Sat, May 16, 2020

Anca Agachi in Defense One on the rise of non-traditional security threats

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus English

Fri, May 15, 2020

Robert Manning in Foreign Policy on China’s control of the South China Sea

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Coronavirus

Wed, May 6, 2020

Mathew Burrows quoted in Roll Call on reshaping the military’s role in a post-COVID world

In the News by Atlantic Council

English National Security

Wed, May 6, 2020

Robert Manning in Valdai on how COVID-19 aggravates great power competition

In the News by Atlantic Council

Americas China

Wed, May 6, 2020

Steve Levine in Medium about pandemic’s impact on American cities

In the News by Atlantic Council

Coronavirus Economy & Business

Fri, May 1, 2020

Manning quoted in Ozy on Kim Jong Un’s disappearance from public view

In the News by Atlantic Council

Korea Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, Apr 30, 2020

Pavel and Engelke in Euronews: Irresponsible wet market practices led to COVID-19. China hasn’t learned its lesson

If another country accidentally unleashed a weapon of mass destruction, and it killed almost 200,000 people worldwide (including 60,000 Americans), there would be international outrage and urgent calls for that country to cease any and all activities related to that weapon and to conform to new, strict, immediate measures for transparency and constraints. Unfortunately, despite […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Coronavirus