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FSN Seminar – Feb. 21

Impact of Advanced IT on the Governance of the State:

Summary Discussions of Workshop Findings

By Stephen Fanjoy & Peter MacKinnon

February 21, 2020 – DMS 7170

13:30 – 17:30


Update – The Impact of Advanced Information Technologies on the Governance of the State

This will be the 4 and final session in a workshop series addressing the topic of the Impact of Advanced Information Technologies on the Governance of the State.  The phrase ‘governance of the state’ is taken to be all forms of national governance structures ranging from autocracies to democracies.

Democratic and autocratic states are increasingly using advanced data and information technologies to monitor people in unprecedented ways.  Democracy is under threat.  Fake news and alternative facts are increasingly penetrating the public commons.  Cyberspace is becoming an environment for nefarious actions by both state and non-state actors seeking many conflicting objectives ranging from eavesdropping and espionage to influencing public processes such as elections. 

This workshop series is a consequence of two past Foresight seminars, namely Technology & Democracy on November 23, 2018 and The History & Foreseeable Future of Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities & Threats on December 14, 2018.  Both seminars raised issues that led to staging this Workshop series. 

The presenters will cover the workshop discussions to date and their synthesis of our collective findings   using visual tools along with comments on gaps and other issues arising.

The presentation materials for both seminars and the previous two workshops are available on the FSN website on the dates noted (


Stephen Fanjoy is a management consultant, director, and interim executive to start-up entrepreneurs, specializing in business software, including significant experience in novel cybersecurity, medical device and data science solutions.

Steve has over two decades of experience in enterprise software, including executive and senior management roles in strategy, product management, marketing, analyst relations, business development, and mergers and acquisitions. He is an honours graduate of the Dalhousie University School of Business and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

Peter MacKinnon has a background as a scientist, business manager, entrepreneur, domestic and international bureaucrat, executive, diplomat, management advisor, and academic; including affiliation with both Telfer and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa.

He is a pioneer in the commercialization of AI and today is actively involved in ethical and policy issues related to AI.  He has an extensive background on the forefront of scientific and technological breakthroughs around disruptive technologies and their impacts on society.


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FSN Plan Jan – May 2020


Date Location Speaker Topic
Fri Feb 14
DMS 4165 Nicole  Morgan TBD by Nicole RESCHEDULED
Fri FEB 21 1330-1700 DMS 7170. Steve  Fanjoy and Peter MacKinnon Impact of Advanced IT on the Governance of the State: Summary Discussion of Workshop Findings
Fri FEB 28 1330-1530 DMS 4165 DMS 4120 Greg MacGillivray and   Arden Brummell  from Calgary via skype or zoom
Memories of the future – reflections on 30 years of scenario  planning
Fri March 13 1300-1530 DMS  6160 Peter  Chapman Quantum physics and  the  future of security RESCHEDULED
FRI March 27 1300-1600 DMS 6160 Guy Stanley and  John Verdon Determinants of future work in the digital transition .
FRI  April 24 1330-1530 DMS 6160 Richard Viger Ethics and Morality in AI
FRI April 24 1530-1700 ROYAL  OAK      PUB LAURIER All welcome FSN Planning session for the spring  term May  –Jul   2020..
FRI MAY 7 1330 – 1530 DMS 4165 or 7170 Chris Cooper Creating a new infrastructural sector; (clean water) the Eco-Future of Carbon Nanotechnology
Wed MAY12 1330-1530 DMS 4165 or 7170. Contingency date for Chris Cooper Creating a new infrastructural sector; (clean water) the Eco-Future of Carbon Nanotechnology

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSN seminars are postponed until further notice with anticipation of restarting in May.   Any changes will be posted here and sent via email to those on FSN distribution list.

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FSN round table discussion – Dec. 13

Update: Please note the location and time change to DMS 4165 starting at 1 pm.

Friendly reminder about the FSN round table discussion taking place tomorrow [Dec. 13, 12 1 to 3 pm, DMS 4165 7170] on the NEXT economy and the future of work. This session will be facilitated by Guy Stanley and Steffen Christensen.

Please note this will be the last FSN session for the calander year.

At 3 pm, we plan to adjourn to the Royal Oak pub nearby on Laurier Ave. for general discussion of FSN prospective themes, projects and speakers in 2020, everyone is invited.

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FSN Seminar – Nov. 29

Update: here is the Presentation Rebuilding Liberalism and Transcript [FSN RB back story GS].

Rebuilding Liberalism: Social Justice with Individual Freedom

Presentation to the Foresight Group, 29 November 2019 [1:30 to 4:00 in DMS 7170]

Guy Stanley

Abstract: Here are the slides for this Friday – FSN Nov 29 Rebuilding Liberalism. As they show,  Guy will be using the material in his book to focus on the more general problem of the Western adaptation to industrialization mainly from 1815-1950 although obviously a lot happened before and after – which will inevitably touch upon. The main point of the presentation is to underline the enormous scale of the transformation involved – a complete civilizational makover – and the quality of the IQ (high) and leadership (varying from inspiring to horrifyingly destructive) the North Atlantic region including Germany brought to different aspects of the problem. He will go beyond the book to introduce some theories of technology and in particular the McLuhan et al on media and culture. This will hopefully set up a discussion about our current readiness for the completion of the digital revolution – or at least the next stages of it. In the process, Guy will also discuss the book’s solution to the general problem of liberalism’s incompleteness – namely a focus on the quality of civil society. Following the presentation, we will spend an hour or so to address the problematique of framing scenarios for the digital impact  we are currently experiencing and for its impending acceleration over the next 10 years.

The book is available on Amazon and Google – and  in a bookstores, quite possibly including the UofO bookstore.

Here is a image of the front cover: 9781459745117.jpg

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FSN Seminar – Nov. 15

The future of risk in large-scale complex systems

Presentation to the Foresight Group, 15 November 2019 [1:30 to 4:30 in DMS 7170]

Graham D. Creedy, P.Eng., FCIC, FEIC

Abstract: This presentation examines the difference between formal risk assessment and the challenges faced by those actually making the decisions on managing risk. Many of the insights discussed come from the fields of major accident prevention, safety culture and responsible corporate behaviour. They reveal some of the organizational challenges of managing technological risk in complex environments, drawing on lessons mainly from engineering but also from fields as diverse as finance, health care, aerospace and international affairs. The topic is considered from different perspectives to give participants a sense of why those making decisions on risk control act as they do, and how this understanding can be used to develop more effective strategies for managing risk.

The presentation will briefly discuss:

  • the nature of risk and societal control;
  • how the philosophy of risk management has developed (and continues to evolve);
  • some of the common technical approaches to managing risk.
  • The main presentation will then feature an examination of why systems so often fail in actual practice due to sociological aspects of how individuals and organizations make decisions, to show how vulnerabilities arise and also comment on defences that can reduce (though not necessarily eliminate) the likelihood of failure.
  • The discussion will then move to implications for risk management in a global society which is rapidly becoming technically more integrated and complex, while it searches for a consistent moral philosophy amid the undercurrents of tribalism, class, etc. which ebb and flow as history evolves.

Bio: Graham Creedy is a chemical engineer and chemist who spent the first half of his career in the chemical industry, operating plants for some of the world’s leading multinational companies. He then provided consulting guidance to a variety of organizations in the private and public sectors, most notably through his role as Senior Manager, Responsible Care for the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (now the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada), a position from which he retired in 2009. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario and a Fellow of both the Chemical and Engineering Institutes of Canada, and teaches risk management at the University of Ottawa, to pass on some of his knowledge to the younger generation of engineers.

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FSN Seminar – Oct. 18

Date, Time and Location: Friday October 18, 2019 [1300-1600] DMS [link to map] 4165

Slides: DJI FSN Wicked Problems Revisited Oct 18 2019

Foresight, Behavioral Economics and Wicked Problems Revisited – Nepal as a Wicked Foresight Problem

Abstract: On April 4 2017, Derek Ireland made a presentation to FSN on Foresight, Behavioral Economics, Disruptive Technologies, and Other Wicked Problems.  For those who could not attend the earlier presentation, this one on Wicked Problems Revisited will begin with an updated and hopefully improved version of the initial 20 or so slides on definition, the wicked problems from the literature, and the differences between wicked and tame problems and their implications for foresight and policy formulation.  The presentation will provide a case study of Nepal development as a wicked foresight problem.  The presentation will close with some summary comments on power, the powerful, and the wicked problem of the crisis of democratic capitalism – which will be linked with earlier FSN presentations advanced information technologies and governance of the state.

Over the past two years, Derek Ireland has completed two major consulting assignments in Nepal on economic development, policy, legal, and regulatory reform, and urban corridor development.  At the outset, it became very clear that Nepal has many complex and inter-related “wicked” characteristics that can greatly complicate foresight and related analysis and the preparation and comparison of development scenarios.  At a time of dramatic growth and change in the Asian economy and quality of life, the growth of the Nepal economy has been sub-standard for over five decades.  The political economy of Nepal is now going through a dramatic constitutional transformation from a unitary state dominated by its capital Kathmandu and the Kathmandu Valley to a federal system of seven provinces that in many ways is quite similar to Canada, Australia and India.  For these and many other “wicked” reasons, the past in Nepal provides very little guidance to the future.  This case study will address how the consultants addressed this and many other foresight, scenario, and development planning challenges, and how transformative change, wicked development challenges, and national economies with wicked characteristics can be addressed by foresight analysts in the future.

Brief Bio: Dr. Derek Ireland has been a senior economist and manager in the Canadian public and private sectors for over five decades.  He has a BA in Economics and Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia in 1968, and an MA in Economics from Carleton University, which he received in the mid-1970s.  He returned to university in the Fall of 2003 as a student in the PhD program in Public Policy at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada, and received his PhD in February 2009.  His area of specialization over the last two and a half decades has been the interactions between law and economics with emphasis on competition policy and law; regulatory reform and impact analysis; consumer policy and consumer protection law; trade policy; intellectual property and innovation policy; urban, regional, rural and infrastructure development; and public administration.

His international experience includes more than 30 major consulting assignments in China, as well as research and policy development work in several other developing countries such as Nepal, Malaysia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Mongolia Republic, and in Botswana working with the Secretariat of the Southern Africa Development Community on competition and consumer protection policies and laws in the SADC Member States.  He has been a member of FSN for over a decade and has made previous presentations on: marketing foresight to the boundedly rational; uncertainty, novelty, innovation, Canada’s innovation challenge, and the consumer; and, foresight, behavioral economics, disruptive technologies, and other wicked problems.

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FSN Seminar – October 4

FSN Seminar – OCT 4 2019 [1330-1600] – DMS [link to map] Room 7170

Foresight Methods: Probing Policy Uncertainties Through Scenarios

ABSTRACT: Drawing on his extensive experience with scenarios,  Mr. Smith will present a brief overview of 12+ foresight methods and then examine several ways of constructing scenarios  –  e. g.

  1. double axial, (also known as archetypal or classic)
  2. triple axial or pyramidal:,
  3. cube design or quartro axial;
  4. Modified cube or multimodal (> 4 axes ) or Protean multi-factor analytical
  5. Thematic generic; timeless or urgent; with or without add-on factors
  6. Normative or ranked by participants for preference, expectation; probability; practicality or plausibility;.
  7. Three Horizons; #1 the present; #3 the prospective future and #2 the diverse ways going forward in time ( e.g. actions, investments, inventions, innovations, events etc.) that  can help realize the vision described by the 3rd
  8. Wildcards e. g. How many to include; what guidance is required; and what about black swans, elephants and cobras?

Finally, the discussion should pursue the question of how should uncertainty in policy outcomes be elicited, structured; evaluated and captured, by foresight facilitators, practitioners and sponsors.

BIO: JS Bio Oct 2019

Slides: JS Oct 4-2019 Focus on Scenarios Introduction to Foresight

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FSN Seminar – July 5

Update – Presentation slides are here:FSN Ottawa July 5 2019

Fri July 5th @1430-1630, DMS 7170

Please note: This event is receiving lots of interest in various groups, please RSVP so we are able to gauge room size.

Dr. Miller is UNESCO’s head of foreign literacy and one of the world’s leading strategic foresight designers and practitioners . Mr. Miller will be talking to us about key insights in foresight literacy from his latest book “Transforming the future: Anticipation in the 21st century,” which is available for free download.

Bio: For over thirty years Riel Miller has been pioneering advances in the theory & practice of using the future as a means to improve management & public policy, with a focus on transformational leadership. He has designed & implemented hundreds of projects worldwide, using the future in order to change what people see and do. He is an experienced & innovative educator, a pioneer of Futures Literacy & the Discipline of Anticipation. He is widely published in academic journals & other media on a range of topics, from the future of education & the Internet to the transformation of leadership & productivity. He is an accomplished keynote speaker & facilitator. His unflagging ambition is to find ways to put the richness of complex emergence at the service of humanity’s capacity to be free. He has given his foresight literacy program to Presidents and Prime Ministers, CEO’s, senior executives in industry and government, practitioners, teachers.

Source –

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FSN Seminar – June 27 – RESCHEDULED!

Please note: This event is cancelled till august or in the fall, we will use this space for FSN Fall general planning meeting.

Thur June 27th at 1300-1600  room DMS 7170

Dr. Christopher Cooper; CEO of Tech Forward; an innovative nanotechnology research and eco-products company; currently based in Phoenix * will describe his 20 year journey in developing superior water treatment systems using carbon  nanotubes ;  Chris also plans to demonstrate a scaled-down version of the technology using a variety of local tap and waste water sources 

*Dr. Cooper is in Ottawa as part of a strategic assessment tour of 10 Canadian cities located in 4 Provinces;  This tour is being organized by TFCI Canada in order to explore the diverse situations  and appreciate the nano-infrastructural assets and the industrial development potentials of the10 9 cities;    and also to support TECH FORWARD in its strategic objective to select one or more of the 10  cities as a base for developing Canadian operations.

Reception & Networking Event:

Also note that   from 1630-1930;  on June 27th; the FSN ;  TFCI Canada and  Dr Cooper’s company Tech Forward will host a by invitation Reception & Networking Event for government and university research and innovation leaders in room DMS  4101.

The Reception will feature a selection of regional craft beers and Niagara wines available for comparative tasting and sale; Admission is free; but pre-registration by June 26th is required using  thte ticket system. FSN members and participants are encouraged and welcome to attend. To receive an invitation please send your request to smithjack57@GMAIL.C0M;  by June 26th.