Full text: ARCH+ : Studienhefte für architekturbezogene Umweltforschung und -planung (1968, Jg. 1, H. 1-4)

a society where work may grow short and the right to 
prolonged unemployment compensation in case of tech- 
nological change; the training of workers preparing them 
for numerous job changes within their lifetime and for 
increased mobility, the disruption of family life caused 
by increased shift-work in highly automated continuous- 
Iy-working factories and a great number of other "la- 
bour crises' ahead have not yet had the deeper inter- 
disciplinary attention they need, 
The interdisciplinary study of future contingencies will 
certainly discover a number of danger signals unknown 
so far. The "warning system" of the E.L.O.I. might at re- 
latively little cost stop social and political crises before 
they can do damage. It will in addition be able to warn 
in time against developments which would erode the 
"quality of life" at the expense of short term quantita- 
tive gains, 
By anticipating social issues and social requirements and 
bringing them to the attention of the responsible leaders 
of government, parliament and public opinion the "war- 
ning service" will assume a function, which is not only 
necessary but overdue. 
On the other hand it can be assumed that strong and re- 
newed demand for the intellectual creation of "alter- 
native feasible futures" would soon create a new trend 
towards increased "social inventiveness", Jantsch is 
probably right when he points out that the techniques 
developed in "normative technological forecasting" 
over the last two decades starting now from social re- 
quirements would be capable of "applying spur and gui- 
dance to fundamental research in areas of social rele- 
vance in the same way as they are applied by industry 
in the economic area," 
Two American firms have recently tried to define the 
basic conditions, which favour technological invention,. 
Most of these factors might apply equalily to much need- 
ed "social invention", 
General Electric’s Centre for Advanced Study in Santa 
Barbara ("Tempo") named the following pre-conditions 
based on an analysis of 75 important innovations: 
In 
Purposeful nature of the innovator; 
2. 
Existence of an information base; 
3, 
Availability of a financial source; 
c, Stimulating workshops of "social invention" 
"Look-out Insftitutions" - the idea as well as the term 
were put on the map by B. de Jouvenel - have been 
very well defined by E. Jantsch., He states: 
4. 
Learning - a factor which seems to favour newcomers, 
who have entered the field recently; 
5; 
Accidental factors. 
"Look-out Institutions" are called for by many disting- 
vished scientists and other people concerned with social 
technology, The principal purpose of such institutions 
would be to conceive and systematically evaluate alter- 
native feasible futures so as to permit the selection of 
optimum solutions towards the long range goals of socie- 
| 
It is rather surprising that so far only a few ill equipped 
and insufficiently financed private groups have tried to 
put this excellent idea into practice, This may only part- 
Iy be due to lack of money or official disinterests, Some 
of the "inhibitors" of the much needed "invention" of 
alternative feasible futures may be listed here: 
I. 
for over a hundred years now only scientific and techno- 
logical inventiveness have been taken seriously and 
brought tangible benefits as well as honours to their cre- 
ators, 
2. 
the ill-conceived rigid and monistic "social inventions" 
of totalitarian regimes, which turned into "nightmares" 
have served as a warning. 
3. 
the greater insight on social and political processes 
gained in recent years, has made it clear to would-be 
“social inventors" that the conception of "alternative 
feasible futures" is hugely more difficult than thought 
by revolutionaries and reformers of earlier aaes. 
4, 
the effects of the current intellectual training which 
puts more accent on analysis than on creative concept 
valisation has cut down the number of potential social 
innovators, 
7 
The consulting firm Arthur D, Little pointed out the 
following factors as being most important: 
l. 
A clearly formulated need; 
2, 
Availability of resources (to be committed at once for 
best results); 
3. 
An experienced body of people, 
Ideally a society in the age of accelerated change would 
need socio-cultural "research and development units" 
as large and as well financed as the R. and D, depart- 
ments in industry and the military complex, But such 
serious and well financed effort of "social invention" 
and controlled experimentation may still be far off. 
Nevertheless a resolute start should and could be made. 
A "European Look-Out Institution" might at least stimu- 
late the creation of "alternative futures" and. "intellec- 
tual prototypes of new institutions" either by assemb- 
ling itself inter-disciplinary "model building groups" 
put on to the most urgent problems (such as, intercon- 
tinental transportation, ecology, permanent education, 
leisure activities, prevention of crime, preventive me- 
dicine, etc.) or suggest important areas ripe for "social 
invention and innovation" to workshops of social inven- 
tion at universities, learned societies, etc. 
The "alternatives" and "social inventions" developed or 
ARCH + 1(1968)H1
	        

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