CNTR Guest Lecture with Dr. Anna Schulte-Loosen and Dr. Matthias Grüne of Fraunhofer INT

The internal event provided an overview of the field of technology-oriented futurology

The third event in the CNTR guest lecture series took place on 21 November 2023. PRIF's virtual guests were Dr. Anna Schulte-Loosen and Dr. Matthias Grüne from the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis (INT). In their presentation and the subsequent discussion, the two gave an overview of their work and expertise in the field of technology-oriented futurology. The focus was on methods of scenario development and the special features of futurology for the military context.

Fraunhofer INT is observing and analysing trends in the technology landscape since 1974 and aims to provide orientation knowledge about technological developments for various private and public contacts. As head of the Corporate Technology Foresight business unit, Dr. Anna Schulte-Loosen works with clients from the private sector to develop alternative courses of action and assess their consequences. Dr. Matthias Grüne works for Fraunhofer INT's Defence Technology Foresight business unit – a research project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg), which uses a "technology radar" to support defence institutions in making informed decisions about the development and procurement of new defence technology. 

Futurology in general and scenario development methods in particular are a form of structured foresight. This involves identifying a series of influencing factors that could affect the development of the object under investigation. These are then used to develop scenarios that depict possible futures and visualise their prerequisites. The data basis for this is diverse and ranges from computer-aided observation of research and the market to assessments by relevant experts.

It is an important part of application-oriented research to adapt methods and focal points to the needs, processes and knowledge interests of the enquiring organisation. Technical foresight for the institutions and actors in security and defence policy must meet the challenge that these are subject to different time scales. On the one hand, there is the civilian-driven technological progress as well as the specific requirements in the application, which develop dynamically and at short notice. On the other hand, there are the procurement and planning processes of the relevant authorities, which often only progress step by step, as well as the long-term useful life of procured systems.

Ultimately, futurology is a group-subjective process based on the systematic observation of the present and the past. In the observation of Dr. Schulte-Loosen and Dr. Grüne, processes of scenario development themselves have a transformative potential, as different perspectives on the object of observation enter into dialogue with one another. The exchange of different disciplines and bodies of knowledge is also a central component of CNTR's work, which is intended to uncover blind spots and enable synergies.

CNTR would like to thank Dr. Anna Schulte-Loosen and Dr. Matthias Grüne for their visit and for the stimulating and informative exchange.

Project partners