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

Fri, Jul 10, 2020

Robert Manning interviewed on TRT about India-China border dispute

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Conflict

Wed, Jul 8, 2020

Manning quoted in Axios on COVID-19, trade, and disruptive technology

Addressing developments related to the coronavirus, this Axios Future article references Robert Manning's two recent Atlantic Council reports on the fragmentation of global trade and the challenges wrought by emerging technology.

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Coronavirus

Tue, Jul 7, 2020

Trade and financial fragmentation: New challenges to global stability

There is greater uncertainty today about the future of global trade than at any time since the post-World War II trading system was created seven decades ago. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic froze much of the world economy; the health crisis has added a new layer of uncertainty. We are at a historic inflection point: the global trade regime urgently needs renovation and updating to meet new challenges, yet it is fraying and fragmenting.

In-Depth Research & Reports by Robert A. Manning

China Digital Policy

Tue, Jul 7, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in VOA Korea on the prospect of a peace declaration ending the Korean War

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Korea

Thu, Jul 2, 2020

Robert Manning interviewed on VOA Russia on US-China relations

In the News by Atlantic Council

China Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Jul 1, 2020

Can AI and emerging tech boost African development?

The final roundtable of the Smart Partnerships Series focused on the African continent and how AI as well as other emerging technologies can be harnessed there for good.

Smart Partnerships Series by Julian Mueller-Kaler

Africa Americas

Fri, Jun 26, 2020

AI, an accelerator of change?

Two digital roundtables with India brought together high-level experts to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and geopolitics of emerging technologies in the South Asian country. While the first focused on AI and health, the second centered on Sino-Indian relations.

Smart Partnerships Series by Julian Mueller-Kaler

Americas China

Fri, Jun 19, 2020

Robert Manning in The Hill on the dangers posed by an increasingly desperate North Korean regime

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Economic Sanctions

Fri, Jun 19, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in VOA Korea on the reasons behind recent North Korean aggression

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Korea

Thu, Jun 18, 2020

Robert Manning quoted in Chosun Ilbo on the US and ROK response to the bombing of the inter-Korean contact office

In the News by Atlantic Council

Conflict Economic Sanctions