Hello all!

Black Swans_Pysty_FINAL_RGBWe want to wish you all welcome to Black Swans’ website. We are a student association founded by Futures Studies students of the University of Turku. This site aims to provide information about our association and interesting content for our members.

Please enjoy our site and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

August 2019 Newsletter

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Moi Kaikkille! Hello Futurists!

It is with great enthusiasm that the Black Swans Student Organization’s executive board write this first newsletter of the Autumn 2019 semester! After a long summer of re-organizing our operational structure and relaxing to recharge for the exciting events of this new school year, we wanted to extend our warm welcome back to Futures Students “old” and new in this newsletter – along with news and relevant events taking place these upcoming weeks.



Who are the Black Swans?

We are a student organization by Futures Students for Futures Students! You can find out more about us on our webpage and by following our social medias:





New Student Orientation | August 27, 15.00 @ FFRC

You are all welcome to meet our new students to our Master’s Degree Programme in Futures Studies. FFRC is offering coffee, tea, biscuits and fruits for new and “old” students, teachers and every one of our staff, who can attend. We will meet on Tuesday 27th August at 15:00 around the coffee table of the Turku office.

Looking forward to meeting you and our new students on Tuesday!

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Futures Conference 2019: Constructing Social Futures

(c) Anne Arvonen

Adjunct Professor Katriina Siivonen introduces the 2019 Futures Conference

In June 2019 Finland Futures Research Centre organised the 20th annual futures conference, around the theme of ‘constructing social futures – sustainability, responsibility and power’. Over 270 participants from around the world came to Turku for two days of stimulating and engaging discussions.

Participants were encouraged to consider questions of agency – who in society has the ability to construct the future? And what is the role of Futures Studies in facilitating better futures for all?

In addition to a large number of presentations and workshops, the conference welcomed four keynote speakers: Dr Ivana Milosevic (Metafuture, Australia), Prof Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University, UK), Prof Keri Facer (University of Uppsala, Sweden), Prof Ted Fuller (University of Lincoln, UK).

The majority of the presentation slides can be downloaded from the conference website. The Twitter hashtag #futuresconference2019 also brings up a lot of content from the event.

Several members of the Black Swans volunteered as technical assistants during the event. Martyn Richards directed student-led interviews with the keynote speakers and other special guests for the FFRC YouTube channel. A special edition of Futuuri, with reports on the keynotes and selected workshops, is also forthcoming.


The 21st annual futures conference will take place in June 2020, around the theme of ‘futures of learning’. Further details, including the call for papers, will be announced in September 2019.

Jonathon Murphy

COOP blog: Making the Turku city 2050 vision come true

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Two months ago, in August 2017, the vision for the city of Turku was published. A year back in autumn 2016, the city appointed Professor of Futures Studies, Markku Wilenius to chair the vision group and tasked this group of city stakeholders to create a visionary future for Turku in 2050. The group, with the visionary help of Lundén Architects, came up with an ambitious vision, which got very positive feedback from the political field, the public and private sectors, as well as media and citizens.

The vision takes a holistic approach to the city’s development by simultaneously looking at all of the city systems, including business, culture, and residence. The vision emphasizes comprehensive changes in the whole mobility system in the Turku region, especially how to make it more sustainable and thus have a positive impact on the city and its livability. The main idea of the vision is to extend the city center area. This is done, for example, by dissolving the current public transportation jam point on the Market Square into several new city terminals on a so called ‘public transport street’.
The Turku vision group envisions an achievable and compact future city, where walkability and cycling would be preferred, while at the same time decreasing the car traffic in the center. In addition, Turku’s decision to become carbon-neutral by 2040 affects the city in making resource- and energy-efficient solutions also in mobility. One of the concrete and radical ideas of the vision group is to cut off the car traffic on the busy Cathedral bridge.

During the vision process, various futures methods were utilized to broaden and widen the perspectives and ideas of the vision group members. In the beginning of the whole process, the members were asked to identify and present challenges and problems of Turku, as well as their dreams about the city center. The Future Window method was used for further ideation. Most members of the group had similar thoughts about the challenges and dreams of Turku: The market square was seen as the most problematic place and the Aura Riverside as the most beautiful place of Turku. The common dream was to have a livable city center that encourages people to meet with each other. During the second group meeting, a Future Image workshop was arranged. The point was to think about the megatrends and the variables affecting Turku in the future, and their interrelations. Three future images were created as an outcome of the process: two of them concentrated on a livable and attractive center, and one dealt with the changes in working life.

The futures methods workshops were carried out by Professor Wilenius and his research team at the Finland Futures Research Centre. In the near future, it would be great for the Futures Research Consulting to be involved in the implementation process of the city vision, for example by organizing participatory futures workshops for the citizens. In that way, futures studies students could get valuable insight from the development process of a city and citizens could engage themselves in actualizing the vision and be encouraged to participate in active citizenship.

The official vision book will be published tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th of October 2017. Even though the ambitious targets for future Turku 2050 are now set and done, this is only the beginning; it is now time to realize the vision. So, let’s start creating the future Turku together!

Keskustavisio 2050 presentation https://www.turku.fi/sites/default/files/atoms/files//20170814_visio_press_lac_s.pdf

Ellinoora Leino-Richert



COOP Blog: Futures Research Consulting and FINEEC pondering the future of evaluation

In Finnish below

FRC and the Finnish Education Evaluation Center, FINEEC, conducted a futures workshop at Paasitori, Helsinki on the 3rd of October 2017. The purpose of the workshop was to envision what the future may hold for professional skills and vocational education evaluation. The results of the workshop will be utilised in further development of vocational education evaluation in Finland. The workshop was a part of multi-year meta-evaluation of Finnish national evaluation of learning outcomes.

But what is a futures workshop? Futures workshops is a participatory method for creating different visions of the future. The method emphasises creativity, team-work and hands-on approach to tackle issues and challenges. Positive and supportive atmosphere are key to successful outcomes.

FRC had these principles in mind when planning the event. The intention was to conduct a workshop packed with freshness and inspiration as well as expertise and future vision. Versatile presentations and participatory hands-on tasks were chosen as the main tools to reach the goal.

The first presentation introduced the main effects the new Finnish reform act of vocational education has on vocational schools – including teachers, students and work-life partners – throughout the country. The next presentation focused on the future of work, intending to explain the anticipated effects of megatrends on work, and also to shift participants’ thoughts deep into the future. The third presentation, in the midst of practical hands-on ponderings, focused on the meta-evaluation of vocational education evaluation. The aim was to lay out the process and findings so far, thus paving the way to envision the future of evaluation.

During the practical tasks, the participants in each table were instructed to shift their mindset into the future, ponder the effects of the vocational education reform, and also to envision as to how, why and by whom vocational education, its quality and effectiveness should be evaluated in the future. Towards the end, each table unveiled their fantastic views on the relationship and interdependence between the ever-changing world and the future of vocational education and its evaluation.

The futures workshop was well received by the participants. Based on their feedback, the workshop was described as interesting, inspiring and also effective in terms of reaching targets and findings solutions to given problems. For the organisers the event was also an inspiring experience. The participants were handed out all the material used in the workshop, and later on they will receive a report of the findings, provided by the FRC.

FRC wishes to thank FINEEC for the opportunity and cooperation!

Janne Hietanummi


FRC ja Karvi arvioinnin tulevaisuutta pohtimassa

Ammatillisen koulutuksen arviointia puntaroitiin kirjaimellisesti tulevaisuusmoodissa 3.10.2017 pidetyssä tulevaisuustyöpajassa Paasitornissa, Helsingissä. Tulevaisuustyöpaja toteutettiin Futures Research Consultingin ja Kansallisen koulutuksen arviointikeskuksen, Karvin, yhteistyönä. Tulevaisuustyöpajan tarkoituksena oli luoda visio tai visioita tulevaisuuden osaamisesta ja arvioinnin tulevaisuudesta. Työpaja oli osa Karvin toteuttamaa ammatillisen koulutuksen oppimistulosten arviointijärjestelmän vaikuttavuuden arviointia, meta-arviointia, ja tilaisuuden tuloksia hyödynnetään ammatillisen koulutuksen arvioinnin kehittämisessä. Karvin Meta-arviointi kuuluu kansalliseen arviointisuunnitelmaan vuosille 2016 – 2019.

Ai mikä ihmeen tulevaisuustyöpaja? Tulevaisuustyöpaja on osallistava tulevaisuudentutkimuksen menetelmä, jolla luodaan erilaisia, yleensä toivottavia tulevaisuuskuvia. Metodissa korostuvat luovuus, ryhmätyö ja käytännön ongelmien ratkaisu. Luovuus ja tulevaisuusajattelu, positiivinen ja kannustava ilmapiiri ovat keskeisiä työskentelyn piirteitä.

Nämä lähtökohdat olivat myös FRC:llä päällimmäisenä mielessä tulevaisuustyöpajan toteutusta suunnitellessaan. Pajasta haluttiin raikas ja innostava, mutta toisaalta myös sopivan rento ja asiantunteva – sekä totta kai tulevaisuusmoodiin ohjaava. Tähän tähdättiin monipuolisilla alustuksilla ja osallistavilla tehtävillä.

Tulevaisuuspajan ensimmäinen alustus kuvasi käytännönläheisellä ja konkreettisella tavalla ammatillisen koulutuksen reformin vaikutuksia ammatillisen koulutuksen kentällä. Tätä seurasi työn murrokseen paneutuva esitys tulevaisuudentutkimuksen näkökulmasta; tavoitteena oli herättää keskustelua ja nostaa esille tulevaisuutta muovaavia megatrendejä ja muita työhön vaikuttavia ilmiöitä. Lisäksi tehtävien lomassa luotiin syventävä katsaus meta-arvioinnin toteutukseen ja tuloksiin, jotta arvioinnin tulevaisuutta olisi mahdollisimman hedelmällistä pohtia.

Osallistavien tehtävien parissa pöytäkunnat asemoivat ajatuksensa tulevaisuuteen, vuoteen 2035, tietyn ammatillisen aihepiirin näkökulmasta. Tätä tulevaisuuskuvaa jalostettiin edelleen ammatillisen koulutuksen reformin vaikutusten kautta. Lisäksi pohdittiin, miten, miksi ja kenen toimesta ammatillisen koulutuksen tuottamaa osaamista pitäisi arvioida nyt ja tulevaisuudessa. Lopuksi esiteltiin kunkin pöydän johtopäätökset keskustelevalla ja rennolla otteella. Esille nousi kerrassaan mielenkiintoisia näkökantoja muuttuvasta maailmasta ja sen yhteydestä ammatilliseen koulutukseen ja arvioinnin tulevaisuuteen!

Osallistujat kokivat tilaisuuden mielenkiintoiseksi, innostavaksi ja ennen kaikkea toimivaksi ratkaisuksi tietyn tavoitteen pohtimiseksi ja ratkaisujen etsimiseksi. Toteuttajille tilaisuus oli niin ikään innostava ja hieno kokemus. FRC laatii tilaisuudesta ja sen tuloksista raportin, joka muiden aineistojen tapaan jaetaan tulevaisuustyöpajaan osallistuneille. FRC kiittää Karvia hienosta mahdollisuudesta ja mainiosti sujuneesta yhteistyöstä.


Janne Hietanummi


Visioning the future

A week ago Monday and Tuesday some of the brightest minds of Futures Research were gathering in Turku during the Futures of a Complex World conference. The atmosphere was buzzing with enthusiasm.

Vincente Marrama from Spain explained the futuring methodology where different fields of future knowledge, like future studies, Theory U, scenario planning, systemic events of future like future search, trends and visionary leadership to are used together to create to anticipate and built better futures for organisations.

Leon Young had like-minded standpoints. He raised the idea that a “good” futures thinker should have the cognitive characteristics of systems thinking, visionary thinking, creative thinking and holistic intuition.

Heiner Benking suggested using the Magic Roundtable method where the experts from different fields discuss among each other fields in order to get many sided views solving complex problems.

Fabienne Goux-Baudiment introduced the idea of how the fear-based doomsaying is spreading in the Western countries as the vision of the future. She values foresight helping decision-makers to understand and navigate through the Great Transition in the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world. She challenges us to think future visioning in a new non-linear way and change our perception of reality towards the more positive one.

Joséphine von Mitschke-Collande talked about the change and transformation and raised a question that can complexity ever be solved with complexity or should we accept the change without trying to control it. Many new ways and visions of living and working are arising and showing us the need for the real dysfunctions of our societies. There is a need for a deep transformation but we need to let it happen.

Sanna Ketonen-Oksi is researching consciousness, cognition and co-creation. She sees that in all organisations there is a vital need to systematically relate and combine the activities in a more service-orientated vision.

I myself am researching employee engaging visioning and was happy to find like-minded thinkers in the field.  I am a great believer of the view that the future is not just given but we can all influence in the co-creation of the future.

Pentti Malaska was the forefather of Futures Research in Finland. The undertone in which people talk about him tells me how kind and wise this man was. I am sorry that I did not have a chance to meet him but delighted that his legacy is still with us.  His view was holistic; “thoughts are for knowing and understanding the factual and unfolding world around, emotions bring commitment to the work, choices and objectives, and willpower is needed to make it all happen in practice. (Malaska & Holstius, 2011)

There were many kind and wise men and women at the conference. This  gave me feeling of hope for the future. If you need help creating a better future, the Futures Research Consultancy will happily help you and your organisation in the process.

Piritta Fors


Tehdään yhdessä parempi tulevaisuus

Viikko sitten maanantaina ja tiistaina monet tulevaisuuden tutkimuksen kirkkaimmista ajattelijoista kokoontuivat Turkuun Complex World -konferenssiin. Ilmapiiri puhkui innostuneisuutta.

Espanjan Vincente Marrama esitteli tulevaisuuden futuring metodologian, jossa erilaiset tulevaisuus orientoituneet alat yhdistyvät ennakoimaan ja luomaan parempaa tulevaisuutta organisaatioille. Futuringin osa-alueet ovat esimerkiksi tulevaisuuden tutkimus, Teoria U, skenaariosuunnittelu, systemaattinen analyysi tulevaisuuden termien hauista, trendit ja visionäärinen johtaminen.

Leon Youngilla oli samankaltaisia näkemyksiä. Hän esitti ajatuksen siitä, että “hyvän” futuristin pitäisi omata systemaattisen ajattelun, visionäärisen ajattelun, luovan ajattelun ja kokonaisvaltaisen intuition kognitiiviset ominaisuudet.

Heiner Benking ehdotti Magic Roundtable -menetelmää, jossa eri alojen asiantuntijat keskustelevat toistensa kanssa. Näin saataisiin moniulotteisia näkemyksiä monimutkaisten ongelmien ratkaisemiseksi.

Fabienne Goux-Baudiment esitteli ajatuksiaan siitä, miten pelko-pohjaiset maailmanlopun ennustukset leviävät länsimaissa tulevaisuuden visioina. Hän korosti ennakoinnin merkitystä auttamaan päättäjiä ymmärtämään ja liikuttamaan läpi suuren siirtymän (transformation) VUCAn (volatiliteetti, epävarmuus, monimutkaisuus ja ambiguiteetti) aikakaudella. Hän haastoi meidät ajattelemaan tulevaisuuden visiointia uudella epälineaarisella tavalla ja muuttamaan käsityksemme todellisuudesta myönteisemmäksi.

Joséphine von Mitschke-Collande puhui muutoksesta ja muodonmuutoksesta (transformation) ja esitti kysymyksen että voidaanko monimutkaisuutta ylipäätään ratkaista monimutkaisella tavalla vai pitääkö meidän hyväksyä muutos yrittämättä hallita sitä. On ja syntyy monia uusia tapoja elää, ajatella sekä esimerkiksi tehdä työtä. Nämä uudet tavat osoittavat meille olemassa olevan yhteiskuntamme toimintahäiriöistä. Tarvitaan syvällistä muutosta mutta meidän on annettava sen tapahtua.

Sanna Ketonen-Oksi tutkii tietoisuutta, kognitiota ja yhteisluomista (cocreation). Hän korosti sitä että kaikissa organisaatioissa olisi elintärkeää yhdistää systeemiajattelun lähtökohdista toiminta palvelukeskeiseen visioon.

Tutkin itse yhteisöllistä visiointia ja olin ilahtunut ja onnellinen tavatessani samankaltaisesti ajattelevia ihmisiä. Uskon että tulevaisuus ei vain tule meille vaan että me jokainen osallistumme sen luomiseen.

Pentti Malaska oli tulevaisuuden tutkimuksen kantaisiä Suomessa. Sävy jolla ihmiset hänestä puhuvat piirtää minulle kuvan viisaasta ja sydämellisestä miehestä. Olen pahoillani ettei minulla ollut häntä mahdollisuutta tavata mutta olen iloinen siitä että hänen elämäntyönsä elää edelleen kanssamme. Hänen näkemyksensä oli holistinen; “ajatukset ovat tiedon, tosiasioiden ja ympäröivän maailman ymmärtämistä varten, tunteet tuovat sitoutumisen työhön ja tahdonvoimaa tarvitaan siihen että kaikki tapahtuisi käytännössä. (vapaasti suomennettu, Malaska & Holstius, 2011)

Konferenssissa oli paljon ystävällisiä sekä viisaita miehiä ja naisia. Tämän kokeminen antoi minulle toivoa tulevaisuudesta. Jos tarvitset apua paremman tulevaisuuden luomiseen, Futures Research Consultancy mielellään auttaa sinua ja organisaatiotasi tässä prosessissa.

Piritta Fors


Don’t fear unexpected future change – prepare for it!

“Change frightens” – said Carl Haglund at the Project Management Institute Conference last week in Helsinki. The former Finnish Minister of Defense and now a CEO of the biofuel company (Kaidi) pointed out to the fact that change, even though is happening all the time, is still seen as a danger. Not only people often deny change (Donald Trump as a president of US, Brexit) but they also do not know how to deal with it. According to Haglund, this applies not only to the public sector, which we traditionally accuse of being slow and conservative, but also to the private business, where managers prefer to stick to “business as usual” as the safest approach.

In 2000, which is now 17 years ago, Roevens and Rowley published their ‘’Organize with chaos’’ book, claiming that ‘’Managers must start loving change’’. Surely, this thought must have been revolutionary back then. What is a bit frightening – it seems same revolutionary almost two decades afterwards! We, humans have a natural tendency to avoid change, which is associated with uncertainty and risk. We love our sophisticated plans, which give us a feeling of control and power. Reports on implementation of projects we deal with include such words as ‘’according to the plan’’, or ‘’behind plan’’ and there is this negative ‘’deviation’’ for ‘’change’’. But really, do we think everything can be planned, anticipated and controlled?

World is far more complex than it seems from the manager’s office. Some changes might be affected by us, some happen when we least expect them – here Haglund shared the story from his life, how he, not expecting this to happen so quickly, became a Secretary of State at the age of 29 only because his predecessor’s mistake.

Also in business, future change cannot be fully predicted but it can be explored and prepared for. Futurists have lots of tools used in e.g. foresight that can benefit the managers and their organizations in dealing with the uncertain tomorrow. Instead of the rigid plans, they provide analysis, forecasts and set of scenarios that can widen one’s perspective on the options. They help the leaders embrace change, enjoy it and get the best out of it.

Futures Research Consulting is a cooperative, which gathers young professionals that can help you and your organization feeling more comfortable about the change. After all, change is the only constant, so prepare for it now!

Contact us for more information about Futures Research Consulting offer: futuresresearchconsulting(at)gmail.com

Karolina Mackiewicz (MA Political Sciences, MA Futures Studies) – project manager, change facilitator and futurist





Excursion to the PM’s Office

By Vanessa Deggins

At the end of April, I along with other Master’s Students from the Futures Studies program visited the Finnish government’s foresight unit in Helsinki. It consists of specialists from the Prime Minister’s office and Sitra, The Finnish Innovation Fund. The National Foresight Network is a mostly online forum of Finnish organizations that are active in foresight. Online forums and social media are used to engage citizens, businesses and other actors who may have valuable input. There is also an annual FinnSight Forum where government officials and foresight specialists come together to discuss various issues in preparation for the government’s annual report on the future. On the regional level, each of the 19 regions in Finland have at least one person working on foresight as part of a council that focuses on the areas specific interests and issues.

We started by introducing ourselves to our hosts and what future trends we were interested in. This ranged from education to renewable energy to artificial intelligence. Next, there were two presentations, the first from Kaisa Oksanen, a senior specialist with the Prime Minister’s Office. Kaisa explained the national foresight process for Finland and her unit’s role. They are able to work independent of parliamentary influence but their work is made available to them. Some reports include sustainable growth and its contributions to quality of life and the future of work and working life in Finnish society. They also hold workshops for civil servants to help them understand foresight and to develop a future oriented mindset in their policy decisions. One new trend Kaisa said they are working on is focusing on using experimentation in the decision making process and trying to encourage members of Parliament to take a more evidence-based approach to their work.

The next presentation was from Elina Kiiski Kataja, a foresight specialist with Sitra. She discussed one of Sitra’s most recent reports on the Future of Democracy. She explained that it is a system that hasn’t necessarily adapted much from it’s initial processes almost 100 years ago. This has lead to “democracy fatigue’ which is characterized by lower voter participation due to disillusionment or feelings of disconnection from elected officials. Key to fixing these issues, she said, is new methods of operation to bring about greater inclusion. These issues, it is believed, have lead to the rise in far right parties and populist politicians in many European countries and the United States. Specific examples include Donald Trump’s election in the United States and the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, which were not predicted by the current political models. Part of this change will be reconciling the differences and seeming conflicts between representative democracy and futures thinking, both of which Elina feels are important for any move forward.

Her article on the topic chronicles Finland’s representative structural changes since the 19th century. It has changed from the House of Estates, mostly aristocratic, to a representative democracy brought in by the Industrial Revolution and the rise of a large working class population. As the country has moved away from an largely industrialized society, the key is to figure out what will be the next class or estate that defines the next composition of society and future form of administrative authority.

(opinion) I found the visit very thought provoking as I am interested in how technology has disrupted and continues to disrupt not only society’s standard practices, but some structures of inequality that have been maintained throughout society for a very long time. The other side to this are the people who feel left behind because of the technology. These of course, are the people who are and have been losing jobs to automation, which is projected to continue. The bright side to this is that many jobs will also be created because of automation and I think key to this is to try to find a place for those who feel left behind. A hurdle would be people who don’t want to adapt to fit into these changes. We are all human after all. Another possible negative, as has been seen throughout the entire world, are outside forces, mainly politicians, using these issues to further ulterior motives that have had dangerous consequences. There is no silver bullet of course, and any plan to move forward will require changes on many different levels.

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