The UNESCO Chair is a collaboration between The University of Stavanger and the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) with a purpose to enable leadership, innovation and anticipation in support of the delivery of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals - and beyond - through the application of futures literacy.
About the UNESCO Chair on Leadership, Innovation and Anticipation
The UNESCO Chair is a recognition awarded to institutions with academic environments that excel internationally in fields that are relevant to UNESCO. UNESCO Chairs serve as resource centres and bridge-builders between academia, society, research and government.
The University of Stavanger and NIFU will use this Chair to explore and develop new and more inclusive approaches to leadership and innovation. The aim is to help address major societal challenges such as the realisation of the UN's sustainability targets.
The Chair on Leadership, Innovation and Anticipation forms part of UNESCO's Global Futures Literacy Network. Futures literacy will therefore be a key aspect of this work. Challenging assumptions, inherited ideas and practices, the aim is to increase knowledge about how given ideas, institutional structures and patterns of action prevent us from finding and implementing solutions to society's challenges. By developing future expertise, we can more easily identify values, goals, opportunities and threats, as well as find new ways of addressing such challenges.
The University of Stavanger will be looking at how futures literacy can be used to develop a more creative, open form of leadership for companies and organisations – responding to both institutional and societal challenges.
NIFU will look at how futures literacy can be used in policy learning and the development of new political measures in the face of major national and international challenges. This approach will include making it easier to learn and cooperate across political, professional, organisational, social and cultural divides.
Purpose and Core Values
Enabling leadership, innovation and anticipation in support of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The UNESCO Chair's purpose is to enable leadership, innovation and anticipation in support of the delivery of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals - and beyond - through the application of futures literacy.
- Leadership: The collective pursuit of delivering on purpose.
- Innovation: The ability to define core challenges and root causes, and address these to contribute to a better future.
- Anticipation: The awareness of our assumptions [what we think will happen] and expectations [what we want to happen] about the future, and ability to move beyond them.
- Futures literacy: A universally accessible skill that builds on the innate human capacity to imagine the future. Read more about UNESCO on Futures Literacy.
- We are here to be MAD – to Make A Difference.
- Our decisions, actions and behaviour derive from purpose.
- We lead by example.
- We are independent.
- We strive to reach across political, socio-economic, geographical, cultural, and expert community barriers.
- We contribute to the development of a free and open, fair and sustainable society.
- We promote and support equality, inclusive of gender, age, sexuality, origin, ability, economic status, and education.
- We denounce any form of bigotry, prejudice, discrimination (including sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia), and ideological, political, and religious extremism.
- We develop a common capacity for colouring outside the lines and look at existing cultural, economic, and social structures in creative ways, making use of the future in the process.
- We contribute to a sustainable, autonomous, and organic MAD-movement of equals.
About the Chairholder
Rune Todnem By, PhD, is Professor of Leadership at University of Stavanger, Norway, and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Change Management: Reframing Leadership and Organizational Practice.
Professor Rune Todnem By. Photo: TEDx Stavanger.
Working with practitioners and academics towards enabling leadership fit for the 21st century in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Todnem By introduced the EPICally MAD (Making A Difference) principles at TEDx Stavanger in 2019. The ideas introduced here nurtured his 2021 article Leadership: In Pursuit of Purpose coining the PAC leadership approach - focusing on the facilitation and production of Purpose, Alignment, and Commitment – and the Telos Leadership Lens (TLL) suggesting that
- leadership is a responsibility of the many, not a privilege of the few
- leadership is the collective pursuit of delivering on purpose
- leadership purpose is to be guided by internal goods (exemplified by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals).
About the Co-chairholder
Per Koch is the editor of Forskningspolitikk, a Nordic magazine on research and innovation policy and a Senior Adviser at NIFU, The Nordic Institute for Studies of Innovation, Research and Education.
Special advisor Per Koch. Photo: Martin Skulstad.
Koch has been working as a policy maker and researcher in the areas of innovation and research and innovation policy since 1991, in the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and the research institute STEP (later NIFU STEP). He has in particular been focused on the development on a systemic approach to innovation in both the private and public sectors. He led PUBLIN, an EU funded research project on innovation in the public sector. He has worked vis-à-vis the EU Commission, OECD and UNESCO and chaired OECD’s work on the use of science, technology and innovation in the face of global challenges (STIG). He has worked with Dr. Riel Miller and his UNESCO network for futures literacy for many years, and is now engaged in how to use such competences in the development of a transformative research and innovation policy.
About the Chair Advisor
Lisa Scordato is Senior Advisor at NIFU, The Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education.
Senior Adviser Lisa Scordato. Photo: Ketil Jordan, NIFU.
She has been working as an analyst and advisor in the field of innovation and research policy since 2004 and has a particular interest in understanding the role of innovation policy in addressing societal challenges. Currently, she is using Futures Literacy as a way of thinking and a methodology in AFINO, the Centre for Responsible Research and Innovation in Norway (AFINO), funded by the Research Council of Norway. Her work involves building learning arenas where people from industry, academia, NGOs, public sector institutions and other relevant citizens and stakeholders can make use of the future in order to explore the possible negative and positive consequences of innovation and current socio-technological shifts.