EU politicians caught asleep at the wheel

EU politicians caught asleep at the wheel
29.04.2020 | Neo Popper

Over a decade ago the European Union invested around 1 million Euro to fund the iKnow project as one of the so-called Blue Sky forward-looking activities. The project aimed at interconnecting Knowledge on issues and developments potentially shaking or shaping the future of science, technology and innovation (STI) in Europe and the world.

In the early 2000s there was a general consensus that the identification and analysis of Wild Cards and Weak Signals (WI-WE) and their effects on European and global science, technology and innovation (STI) policy often remained out of the policy radar and therefore deserved more attention in foresight and forward-looking activities.

Back in May 2010, together with some colleagues and health experts from Germany, we organised a workshop  in which we discussed what we then called a Killer Virus, described as a highly infectious and lethal virus (that) appears and spreads out around the world fast due to the high mobility of the world population. The number of casualties is high and rises constantly, leading to massive social problems. The impacts are vast on all areas of life.

The Killer Virus was only one of some 44 wild cards we decided to feature in the iKnow Policy Alerts (2011) report. Interestingly it was the first wild card discussed and fully analysed with surprising wild features, key actors (i.e. early warners, shapers and stakeholders), potential impacts and, most importantly, potential actions for policy, business and research actors. We also provided some weak signals indicating that prospective mutations of such viruses could lead to large numbers of casualties.

To read more, please click here

Relevant themes: Wicked-Problems & Moonshots
Relevant tags: Sustainability


  • Neo Popper - Futures Diamond Ltd

    Neo Popper

    Neo (Rafael) Popper (PhD) is Founder and External Director of Futures Diamond Ltd in the United Kingdom, Director of Executive Education in Foresight at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) of the University of Manchester in the UK, Adjunct Professor in Futures Studies, Foresight and Innovation Management at the Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku in Finland, and Co-Founder and Director of the Łukasiewicz – Centre for Foresight and Internationalisation (CFI) at the Łukasiewicz Research Network in Poland. Dr. Popper was also Principal Scientist in Business, Innovation and Foresight at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (2016-2021). Dr. Popper has 20+ years of experience working as foresight and innovation policy consultant for several international organizations including the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), European Commission, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, and for several public and private organisations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.