Future Ready Singapore project

About Future Ready Singapore

The Future Ready Singapore Project is a research and teaching programme centred on futures studies and strategic foresight. It aims to teach futures studies concepts and methodologies in a sustained, systematic and rigorous manner while contributing to advances in the field, as well as conduct research into various issues that will bear on Singapore’s future.

Located in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the Project will focus on public policy challenges and responses that extend over a long time span, and with a broad focus. Hence, the Project will investigate public policy issues not simply from the perspective of “the policymaker”, but will draw on the multiple, diverse and at times irreconcilable perspectives that are increasingly common.

As Singapore matures as a society, the demand for more voices to be heard in the articulation of a collective future also grows. In order that our debates about the future are more robust, better informed and effective, we must have a better appreciation of the grammar and vocabulary of futures thinking. The Project hopes to use futures methods and tools to make the familiar strange and to make the future present by uncovering taken-for-granted assumptions, challenging fixed mindsets, and overcoming our hidden biases.

About Present(ing) Futures

The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is proud to present Present(ing) Futures, an exercise in crowdsourcing futures that taps on the wisdom of the crowd to explore different aspects of the Singaporean condition, and to identify the possible, assess the probable, and articulate the preferred futures of the different issues we will have to face as a society.

Present(ing) Futures invites you to contribute your analyses, ideas, and stories of how you think Singapore will transform. The rules are simple. The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy will release a case study on a particular topic along with an essay question. As a start, read the accompanying case study. As the philosopher George Santayana said, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. The case study will provide the necessary historical context to the policy challenge, and highlight some of the recurring themes and persistent blindspots.

Do your research and submit a 2,000-word essay in response to the question. The essays will be reviewed by a panel of experts. Up to five of the most commended essays will be offered a prize of S$2,000 each and could be published in a book by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. The selected essays will be announced and showcased on the school’s website.

What are we looking for in the essay? An imaginative reframing of the issue, rigorous research, coherent argument, and clear writing. Most importantly, we are looking for an appreciation of the complexity of the issue in question, and how it is embedded in the broader public policy agenda. So, while you should investigate deeply a particular issue, you should also explore how it interacts with other issues, especially if the deeper root causes of a policy problem lie in other domains. Also, you should also consider if your suggested reforms and solutions could have unintended consequences for other policy issues, or if indirect policy solutions that lie beyond the usual parameters of the policy issue are called for.

Present(ing) Futures Essay Competition