What we research – and how we research it
Our research covers a broad spectrum: analysis and prognosis, empiricism and imagination, vision and responsibility. We do not publish short-lived, quarterly reports stating what’s ‘in’ today and what could be ‘out’ tomorrow – our research work is a byword for continuity and progression.
Communicating with people, e.g. on the street, in a work environment or through the media, inspires us with ideas and motivation every day. We see the possibilities of the future. However, one question always remains unanswered: what do people really want – how do they want to live? We try to shed some light on this question. Various studies constantly point out the discrepancy between desire and reality. We are interested in finding common ground and in encouraging debate about this common ground. We optimistically pursue the objective of making a positive contribution to society. Our research findings therefore highlight processes, developments and scenarios, which provide a current picture of social processes. These in turn can be used as a basis on which forecasts can be made for the coming years.
The research work conducted by the Foundation for Future Studies can be subdivided into four main categories:
Europe and social values
At a time of advancing globalisation, the Foundation looks at the content, importance and future prospects of the European community of values. We ask citizens and experts: what kind of a Europe do we want to live in? We adopt a pan-European research approach to examine the behaviours, needs, desires, fears and attitudes of Europeans and we outline a vision for the future development of the continent. Our research interest focuses on the importance of social values as these will be crucial for forming Europe’s identity in the 21st century.
Society and responsibility
Western society faces a whole host of challenges at the beginning of the new millennium. Within the context of increasing globalisation – and constantly recurring economic and financial crises – a question mark hangs over the status quo. The feeling that we must change our way of thinking is having a growing affect on social discourse – shaping the future in a responsible and sustainable way has taken on a new significance. The Foundation analyses current social processes and creates scenarios for future trends. We investigate the major themes facing our society. For example, we examine how tomorrow’s world will look in terms of the social dimension, consumption, work, the environment, domestic life, culture or education.
As new media become more important, life in the information age raises a number of questions. How do the various media affect our everyday life and our leisure behaviour? What significance do they have for the political awareness of citizens and their views of politicians? Will the ‘digital divide’ in society continue? How do Germans feel about issues such as privacy, data protection, media literacy or e-commerce? Despite the increasing importance of the Internet, is television still the medium of choice for Germans? The Foundation examines these issues, analyses media profiles and creates forecasts for future trends.
Leisure and tourism
Both the leisure economy and the tourist industry will have to deal with four types of change in the next 30 years: climate change, structural change, demographic change and a change in the aspirations of customers and holidaymakers. Will these challenges lead to a new ‘leisure/travel realism’ or will ‘artificial worlds of experience’ and ‘aspirational destinations’ become more popular among German citizens as they seek to escape everyday life?
In the search for the future markets of industries, the Foundation examines both the holiday patterns and leisure behaviour of German citizens, analyses the potential of travel trends and investigates the sustainability of leisure activities. Through its comprehensive time series research, the Foundation addresses historical changes and shows the prospects for tourism and leisure as the ‘leading economy of the future’. We answer the question: what does the future hold for travel?