Data-driven anticipatory governance. Emerging scenarios in data for policy practices

Paper by Stefano Maffei, Francesco Leoni & Beatrice Villari: “The contemporary technological advancements in information and communication technologies (ICT) enable the employment of non-traditional data sources (e.g. satellite data, sensors, cell phone networks data, social media, etc.) in different aspects of the public sphere. Datafication is changing the relationship between governments and citizens, and the way governments address policy problems.

Nowadays, policy-makers are urged to harness data for policies and public service design, while answering at the same time the demand for citizen engagement; as a consequence, innovative government/governance models appeared to connect these two instances. Although it is not a new concept, the model of Anticipatory Governance is particularly worth considering in light of contemporary data availability. Predictive analytics based on data increasingly realizes predictions for public action, although it presents many controversial implications (e.g. the epistemology of data evidence, public trust and privacy). In this article, we address Anticipatory Governance models emerging from data used in futures thinking and policy-making. To understand this phenomenon, we will briefly retrace current paradigms of futures thinking and Anticipatory Governance concerning policy-making, specifying the contemporary perspective design has on these topics. Then, we identify the use of data in futures thinking practices through a systematic literature search. Finally, we will address the challenges and implications of designing data-driven Anticipatory Governance by portraying three scenarios supported by real cases of data for policy-making….(More)”.