Participatory Methods in Futures Studies: A Vision-Construction Process About the Future of Higher Education

Abstract

In 2015, a vision-construction experiment on the future of business higher education took place in Hungary. This was part of a so-called participatory backcasting process. This particular form of vision-construction does not attempt to identify and extrapolate from current trends but to visualize an ideal scenario in the not-too-near but not-too-distant future. Our research involved a 2-day workshop consisting of teachers, researchers, and higher education middle management staff.

While building visions for finding consensus between relevant parties is a fairly common exercise in both the public and private sector, less has been written about the particular methods of vision-construction. The aim of this case, therefore, is to present the methodological background of the process and to analyze the utilized methods in outlining the present state of Hungarian higher education and creating the future vision of it. In order to do so, our case is divided into three parts. First, we briefly define the key aspects of the applied methods. Second, our analysis especially focuses on comparing their characteristics. In the final part of the case study, we aim to show some of the methodological challenges of the process and offer some possible solutions to deal with them.

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