About the project

Basic Research Project (NIFU-USN), funded by NFR (2021-2024, project number: 325870)

Many events contain unseen elements. These can have consequences for you and I, for those dealing with the event and for society in general (eg. Pandemics, terror, financial crises, and natural catastrophes). Our main question is therefore: How can we best prepare ourselves for the unforeseen?

Education and training help, but education is traditionally based on a curriculum with specific learning content and detailed learning aims. What if we don’t know what should be learned?

There has been increasing interest in dealing with the unforeseen and researchers in Norway have developed a concept of «educating for the unforeseen» (Torgersen et al. 2015). In this project we want to build on the results of this earlier work and continue to develop the concept and develop methods to be used in the workplace.

In order to do this, we want of include concepts from research on innovation. Innovation studies have researched the process from creative ideas to implementation of new products and processes. Some of the themes from innovation which might be relevant are the assumption of a relationship between novelty and opportunity, where change is viewed as something positive rather than a threat.

More recent studies of innovation have focused on social transitions where new technologies, new ways of working and thinking must be embraced. An example of this is the transition to a sustainable society. We also plan to include new methods related to Future Laboratories based on recent work done at UNESCO. We intend to establish pilot projects in Norwegian workplaces to ensure valuable feedback for the further development of methods and theory.

We hope to contribute to a better understanding of the unforeseen and to the development of practical methods which can be used to help managers and employees to prepare for the unforeseen, thereby reducing the risk of the unforeseen for society in general.

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