In a world that changes in a fast pace, thinking strategically becomes a primary skill for trade unions in order to strengthen their vision, build their own strategies, and make their own futures.

In the framework of the ETUI foresight and education activities, a second edition of the training called Strategic foresight for trade unions leaders took place in November 2021. The aim was to strengthen the leaders’ competences in thinking strategically and help them build foresight competencies. This activity was organised in partnership with the TCO (Sweden) and TSL (Finland). The training was delivered via Zoom, but the aims were not possible to meet without using the AI-powered digital facilitation tool (Howspace), which also helped in providing a dynamic learning space. Eighteen participants from ten countries were actively participating in the foresight and innovation activities proposed during the three days training.

The training was divided in three main sessions: the first one was about how to change including the aspects of resistance to change and its consequences; the second one was about strategic thinking, from characteristics to implementation.

The novelty of the training in terms of training methods and tools was the use of symbols and contemporary art, facilitated by the trainer-expert Robin Poppe. The participants were connected with the contemporary art activities which they really appreciated. The third session introduced participants to the foresight, its methods, and benefits. ETUI senior researcher Aida Ponce Del Castillo explained how foresight is done in various organizations and introduced them to the various ways in which foresight is carried out practically. This was followed by the importance of looking at and understanding the complex environment around us and the trends we are impacted by in today’s world. Christopher Rowley, foresight specialist at the Finnish Innovation Fund, SITRA, presented the megatrends and explained how to use them in thinking purposefully about the future.

During the last activity of the training the participants had to write their trade union organisation’ story about the future from the perspective of at least 2 megatrends. The results were impressive and the use of AI in the training platform was an added value to the conclusions of the training.

As a follow up after the training, some of the participating organisations showed themselves ready to take up the challenge to conduct, with the help of ETUI, their own organisations’ foresight project.