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Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq, October 8, 2022

From federalism to confederalism, A way of learning to live together in Iraq and in Belgium?

This text is the back-ground paper of my intervention at the conference about The Kurdish Question in the Middle East, jointly organised by The University of Soran (Iraq), the French Research Center on Iraq and Science Po Grenoble, in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq, October 8, 2020.

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Hour-en-Famenne, August 28, 2022

Russia in NATO: Thinking the Unthinkable?

It was a newspaper cartoon that inspired this text, in particular the reflection it carried on the relations between Russia and NATO: what seems unthinkable today was thought yesterday and could be made possible tomorrow. Hence this question: Russia in NATO, thinking the unthinkable. With the dual perspective of a historian, trained in the history of Russia, and a futurist, the author analyzes the ambivalent relationship that Russia and NATO have maintained from…

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Namur, January 16, 2022

The Wallonia Institute of Technology at the centre of the University of Wallonia

When the deputy editor of the daily newspaper L’Echo, Serge Quoidbach, invited me, along with the three other participants at the roundtable discussion on the future of Wallonia, to propose a specific project, which was clear and straightforward and which unified all the Region’s stakeholders, I accepted immediately. The specification from Serge Quoidbach, took its inspiration from the analysis of the economist Mariana Mazzucato, who had alluded to the simple, easily understood idea contained in the speech given by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Rice University in Houston on 12 September 1962. In its tagline we choose to go to the Moon in this decade, the President of the United States encapsulated the determination of the forces that would be mobilised, across all sectors of society. For Mariana Mazzucato, author of Mission Economy, A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism, and The Entrepreneurial State, this goal, which was achieved in 1969 by the Apollo 11 Mission, stemmed from a new form of collaboration between the public authorities and the business community, resulting in benefits for the whole of society. 

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Mons (Wallonia), October 21, 2021

« Opinions which are partial have the effect of vitiating the rectitude of judgment », Heuristics and criticism of sources in science

This text is the background paper of the conference that I presented on October 21, 2021 at the Academic Hall of the University of Mons, as part of EUNICE WEEKS mobilising, with the support of the European Commission, the network which brings together the universities of Brandenburg, Cantabria, Catania, Lille – Hauts de France, Poznań, Vaasa and Mons.

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Namur (Wallonia), August 28, 2021

We are expected to look far ahead even though the future does not exist

Anticipating means visualising and then acting before the events or actions occur. This implies taking action based on what is visualised, which just goes to show how complex the process is and how problematic our relationship is with the future. The saying “to govern means to foresee » is at odds with this complexity principle. It also refers to individual responsibility. Blaming politics is a little simplistic and unfair, as it is up to each of us to govern ourselves, which means we must “anticipate”. Yet we are constantly guilty of not anticipating in our daily lives.

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Namur (Wallonia), July 12, 2021

Increasing rationality in decision-making through policy impact prior analysis

Challenges such as the imminent strategic choices posed by the European structural funds, the Recovery programme underway within the Government of Wallonia, questions on the interest in and the value of installing 5G, and whether it is even necessary, along with issues surrounding the implementation of a guaranteed universal income, and other energy, climate and environmental issues, raise the question of the impact of the decisions made by both public and private operators.

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Washington, November 5, 2018

Some “new” governance models in Europe and the United States

This text is an updated version of my speech at the “Round table on Governance & Law: Challenges & Opportunities” seminar held at the World Bank in Washington at the instigation of the World Academy of Art and Science and the World University Consortium, with the support of The Millennium Project, on 5 and 6 November 2018

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Liège, October 3, 2018

The Jobs of Tomorrow… A Question of Intelligence?

What, therefore, are the key skills to be consolidated or developed? I will try to answer this question in three stages. Firstly, by mentioning the global upheavals and their effects on jobs. Then, by drawing on a survey carried out by futurists and experts from around the world this summer, the results of which were summarised in early September 2018. And finally, by a short conclusion expressing utopia and realism.

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Boston, April 30, 2018

From History to Foresight, Sharing Knowledge and Will

In order to conclude the symposium Grappling with the Futures, Insights from History, Philosophy, and Science, Technology and Society, hosted in Boston by Harvard University  and Boston University  on April 29 and April 30, 2018, the organizers wanted to hear about related organizations or initiatives. They wanted to both learn more about them and figure out the potential added value of these possible new additions to the network, which should not duplicate existing ones and should foster mutually beneficial synergies.

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Namur, April 11, 2018

A Wallonia Policy Lab on the foresight trajectory

In line with the European Policy Lab, the Wallonia Policy Lab represents a collaborative and experimental space for developing innovative public or collective policies. Both a physical space and a way of working which combines foresight, behavioural insights, and the process of co-creation and innovation, in other words design thinking, the Wallonia Lab has set itself three tasks.

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Marche-en-Famenne, 6 Decembre 2017

The place of small towns in the Metropolitan Area of Wallonia

Contrary to the ideas of those who see cities as the centre of the world, I believe we must gradually abolish the distinction between urban and rural areas through the concept of metropolisation.

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Reims, 7th November 2017

What is Open Government?

Where national governments have not yet launched their open governance strategy, they should start with the districts, cities and regions, which often have the benefit of flexibility and proximity with the players and citizens. Naturally, this requirement also implies that private organisations, too, should be more transparent and more open and become more involved.

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Liège, September 22, 2017

Learning in the 21st century: Citizenship, complexity and foresight

Who could believe for a moment that the skills required in the 21st century are and will be the same as those needed in the societies of the past? No one doubts that these skills will be supplemented by others. Nevertheless, our analysis is that however they evolve, foresight and complex thinking will remain necessary skills for future generations…

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Namur, 25th March 2017

The Premature Ambition for a European Political Community

Europe: the Union, from Rome (1957) to Rome (2017) – 1

The signing of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957 was not an isolated act. It should be seen in two contexts: that of a series of plans dreamt up in the late 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century , and that of ambitious decisions taken immediately after the Second World War with the intention of restoring confidence, stabilising political, economic, social and financial relations between nations and bringing about the rebirth – or perhaps the birth – of true interdependence.

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Brussels, November 16 novembre 2016

Territorial foresight for new territorial and societal models

This paper was prepared within the framework of the COR/ESPAS Working Dinner at the European Committee of the Regions, on November 16, 2016, on the initiative of Béatrice Taulègne, Ian Barber and Karlheinz Lambertz.

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Munich, 1st November 2014

Businesses, regions and cities: cradles of the circular economy

Munich, 1st November 2014

In a paper called The circular economy: producing more with less, published on my blog on 26 August 2014, I had the opportunity to offer a definition of the circular economy, to trace the concept’s progress internationally since the 1970s, and then to touch on the practices which, according to the French environmental agency ADEME in particular, underpin such an economy: eco-design, industrial ecology, the economy of functionality, re-use, repair, reutilisation and recycling [1]. Finally, I contended that, besides the key principles of sustainable development to which the circular economy contributes, to become part of this process meant supporting policies which, from the global to the local, become increasingly concrete as and when they get closer to companies. This is what I will try to show in this new presentation.

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Brussels, September 24, 2014

The New Industrial Paradigm

It is commonplace, especially in times of economic difficulty or tensions, to hear it said or read that the crisis is not cyclical, but represents a structural transformation of the economy or society. What is being referred to is a paradigm shift.

An attempt at the clearest possible identification of the « new industrial paradigm » towards which we are said to be moving first of all requires an explanation of the three words of which the term is composed.

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Namur, August 26, 2014

The circular economy: producing more with less

A circular economy is understood as being an economy that helps achieve the aims of sustainable development by devising processes and technologies such as to replace a so-called linear growth model – involving excessive consumption of resources (raw materials, energy, water, real estate) and excessive waste production – with a model of ecosystemic development that is parsimonious in its extraction of natural resources and is characterised by low levels of waste, but which results in equivalent or even increased performance.

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Brussels, June 19, 2014

(Con)federalism in Belgium is not a problem, it’s a solution

This text is the fair copy of my paper prepared before and during the conference organised by Philippe Van Parijs, Paul De Grauwe and Kris Deschouwer at the University Foundation: (Con)federalism: cure or curse, Rethinking Belgium’s institutions in the European Context, 11th public event of the Re-Bel initiative, Brussels,19 June 2014.

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Namur, May 9, 2014

Territorial Innovation Systems for the benefit of businesses

In most regions that are undergoing industrial restructuring, despite the benefit of considerable care and attention from the major players and undoubted strengths, many business leaders and not a few leading academics display a certain scepticism in their day-to-day approach that is in stark contrast with the collective ambition to bring about regeneration locally. Much of the effort focuses on links, synergies and interfaces between research and industry, yet the issue of channels for the distribution and integration of innovation remains sensitive. We know that the tools exist, that they are available and often effective, but we do not really see them…

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Namur, February 2, 2014

From anticipation to action: an essential foresight path for businesses and organisations

The lesson taught by Michel Godet’s famous Greek triangle is that the transition from anticipation to strategic action cannot occur without the insight, mobilisation and appropriation of the foresight process by the parties involved.

Anticipation, appropriation and action are key concepts that businesses and organisations attentive to strategic thinking, and thus to foresight, would do well to keep in mind.

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Bucharest, June 27, 2013

Foresight and Societal Paradigm Shift, Towards a Third Industrial Revolution?

A short version of this paper has been presented at the 21st World Futures Studies Federation World Conference, Global Research and Social Innovation: Transforming Futures, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, June 26, 2013.

Pour en savoir plus…

Brussels, May 30, 2013

What is foresight?

One understands better why foresight frightens all those who want to see the system of former values, attitudes, behaviours and powers perpetuated. And if, by chance, they feel obliged to become involved, they will constantly attempt to control it…

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