Foresight into the Future of Wipo's Development Agenda
The Development Agenda for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was proposed in 2004 to reinvigorate the operations of WIPO, given its mandate as a special operating agency of the United Nations (UN).
Foresight into an array of alternative scenarios is not only warranted but necessary in order to cope with possible developments or, even better, to influence the future. Using the foresight research techniques of scenario building and backcasting, an expert working group met in Prangins, Switzerland, in March 2010 to discuss progress of the agenda's implementation, and to identify a range of future possibilities and corresponding strategic actions. This article outlines analysis and insights regarding the Development Agenda accumulated over several years of research and meetings, culminating in that retreat. It highlights a number of priorities and possible research directions, particularly in the context of a transition in strategic focus from short to medium and long-term thinking about the impact of WIPO's Development Agenda on global knowledge governance.
This article outlines, in the first part, the background of the WIPO Development Agenda and where it stands today. In the second part, the authors outline the immediate challenges and opportunities facing the Development Agenda, based on the insights and analyses of the working group, suggesting that the foresighting and backcasting methods used are useful instruments in planning and envisioning the future of the Development Agenda.