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METUMO (Forest-based bioeconomy, foresight and futures knowledge)

Finished 02.09.2021 - 31.01.2023
Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology


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METUMO project introduces futures research concepts and futures workshop methods for the needs of the forest-based sector professionals.

There is, perhaps more than ever, data and information available about the future: several research organizations, ministries, stakeholder organizations and companies assess the forest-based sector developments as well as scan horizons of the future bioeconomy. The operating environment of the forest-based sector organizations, however, is complex and the future seems to become ever more challenging to foresee.

METUMO project seeks for capabilities how the forest-based sector organizations can utilize foresight and futures information in their daily work.

The project proceeds in two phases. Firstly, the needs and practices of the forest-based sector organizations for handling futures were surveyed, and a review of the futures workshop methods developed in the field of futures research was made. Three futures workshops were piloted in the early 2022 to test novel tools applicable for handling uncertainties in the operating environment with respect to the up-to-date questions of the forest-based sector organizations. In the second phase, training material for futures workshop methods was designed based on the examples and questions tailor-made for the forest-based sector – material in Finnish was launched in January 2023. Also this phase was carried out in collaboration with the forest-based sector organizations:

  • How futures workshops can be applied in higher forestry education, raising awareness to futures thinking among forestry students, and handling forward-looking questions as part of the studies? – whether it was about forestry, ecology, economy or, for example, the new bio-based solutions, the broader changes of the operating environment open up several alternative future pathways identifiable already today for the future professionals.
  • How futures workshops can be applied in companies for human relations development, supporting employees to recognize and handle uncertainties of the operating environment in a constructive manner? – which ever tasks the employee performs in the company operations, the changes and the several demands set for the forest-based sector can be understood as part of broader developments, and the new lanes opening – as has  happened also in the past.

The project did not seek to produce new foresight data but, instead, to provide the forest-based sector organizations with opportunities to improve their futures thinking, and learn how to apply the information provided by foresight research in one’s own work. The target is to develop new capabilities and contribute to futures preparedness of individual employees, organizations as well as the forest-based sector as a whole.

The project is based on learning one from another: academic futures research or extensive foresight reports do not suffice in creating knowledge needed in the forest-based bioeconomy and directing it towards a sustainable future. Futures thinking necessitates co-learning, application of foresight information as well as continuous observation of the operating environment changes.

In the METUMO project the University of the Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences and the Finland Futures Research Centre in the University of Turku introduce futures research tools and methods for the needs of the forest-based bioeconomy. Forest-based sector foresight will be described as a part of the overall foresight activities in Finland, and the futures research terminology and models will be translated into concrete examples of the forest-based sector.

The project is financed by the Metsämiesten Säätiö Foundation




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