Lady going down an escalator (Photo by Ng Shi Wen)

“People buy into what they help create”: Citizen foresight work and the influence of language and metaphors on futures thinking

A year ago, with Singapore just coming out of its circuit breaker and the world still coming to grips with the COVID-19 virus, Aaron Maniam explained in a TED talk that the language we use to talk about the pandemic was shaping how we thought about it. Instead of using a “war” metaphor, for instance, he argued that characterising COVID-19 as an “ecology” would help us better understand the pandemic and our futures. Today, we chat about the influence of language and metaphors on futures thinking as well as the importance of citizen foresight work in Singapore.

Group of preschoolers in an open exhibition space (Photo by Ng Shi Wen)

“No one group has a monopoly on good ideas”: Building anticipatory capacity and democratising, diversifying futures thinking

As a strategic foresight practitioner, Cheryl Chung has led futures projects across different government ministries and in a number of community projects and initiatives. With her experience and expertise, we explore the application of futures and foresight in public policy, the public sector, and the community in Singapore.

Adult in blue facing a group of preschoolers Lady going down an escalator (Photo by Ng Shi Wen)

“What if we’re wrong?”: Interdisciplinarity, education, and higher education in Singapore

For students in Singapore, the notion of a “future” feels very well-defined: Do well in school, acquire the necessary skills and knowledge, and prepare for your job and career. But how do we prepare for an uncertain future if the present is precarious? And what if we’re wrong about trajectories of education and higher education in Singapore? With Dr. Adrian Kuah, we learn more about going beyond “the usual technocratic and prosaic fashion of future-proofing [university] graduates” and the changes we might want to see in the broader education sector.

Group of dancers in circles around a stage (Photo by Ng Shi Wen)

“Thinking about futures”: A preview

In an increasingly complex and uncertain world, how do we start thinking about the future? Or our futures? And how do we apply futures thinking and futures studies in Singapore? Co-designed with research associate Eddie Choo, “Thinking about futures” is a socialservice.sg mini-series featuring three guests, focused on education and higher education, the community, as well as public policy and the public sector.