The idea that policy-making should become increasingly ‘evidence-based’ is becoming ever more engrained in the minds of policy-makers across the globe. The main ambition behind this idea is to help “people make well informed decisions about policies, programmes and projects by putting the best available evidence from research at the heart of policy development and implementation.” “[T]he evidence based approach to decision making has gained momentum in recent years as it strives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policy making processes by focusing on ‘what works’”.
But facts and evidence are by definition about the past or – at best – the present. So what about the future? There are, by definition, no ‘data’, no ‘facts’, no ‘evidence’ about the future. In fact we are bombarded daily with various diverging views, visions, opinions about the future; with numerous quantitative attempts to extrapolate data about the future from data about the past (an endeavour that has proved quite perilous in many policy domains); and with various methodologies that the foresight community applies to ‘vision’ different futures.
There is much attention currently generated on big data analyses and the development of search and analysis tools. Fundamental knowledge of these areas is rapidly expanding. Various products and services are already presented and applied in the analysis of operational data. Practical and integrated solutions for strategic analysis applications are not yet available.
This project aims at developing and applying these tools for the strategic level of decisionmaking through a shared platform “Futurebase”.
The goals of the project
The ultimate objective of Futurebase is to support the conduct of faster and more powerful strategic analyses by automating parts of current research approaches, to process more valuable and diverse data, in a less labor-intensive manner. This will also include more powerful analytical possibilities that contribute to identifying, appreciating and presenting security threats and opportunities in an early phase of development. Thus, the project connects to the overall objectives of the National Security Innovation House of The Hague Security Delta.
What will be the results
This project will deliver a ‘proof of concept’ of the Futurebase on the basis of which the results produced can be further elaborated and commercialized.
Current status: May 2014
After drawing up an inventory of on the one hand available (big and small data) sources and on the other tools for data collection, analysis and visualization, we started up with assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the tools with respect to three security-related topics: Russia, Cybersecurity, and Drones. Next step will be to connect the analyses produced to develop insightful visualizations of the data construed.
Which are the collaborating partners?
The consortium brings together academic knowledge on big data analyses and technological expertise of analytical and visualization tools and technologies in combination with applied strategic security knowledge and commercial and operational analysis in the public order and security sector. In addition, the partners involved also operate outside the security field which enables knowledge transfers to and fro other academic and policy domains.
The HSD Development Fund is made available by the Municipality of The Hague and the European Community.