The increase in available information, as well as the globalization of the economy and society, force us to make rational and efficient use of information, in order to know and, if possible, control the factors that condition our economic and social life
The Watchkeeping Systems or prospective-strategic surveillance systems are observatories or environmental analysis tools based on strategic foresight tools and methodologies when defining the key areas or factors to be monitored. It is not only a question of identifying the relevant strategic factors today as in traditional observatories, but also of establishing the list of key variables of a system for the future. Watchkeeping Systems therefore provide a more long-term view of the strategic elements, compared to the usual monitoring approaches (comprehensive scoreboard, synthetic indicator systems, etc.), and are therefore used as the last phase of the prospective strategic planning process for decision-making. Thus, a system monitors key factors or variables of an entity or organization.
Initially, a trend analysis has been carried out that includes the main long-term trends, carrying out a comprehensive analysis of the main transformative global forces that will define the future world with impact on societies, economies, cultures and personal lives. On the basis of these, a study has been carried out of the situation of society in relation to them, resulting in the most relevant factors, and which a priori could be considered critical in the future of society in general and in the areas covered by this project. Trends have been classified according to the STEEP methodology which categorises trends around 5 major areas: SOCIAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND POLICY, in order to obtain an overview of the main external factors at stake.
Within this framework, in 2021 we conducted a Delphi survey of local and international experts on the CHALLENGES and OPPORTUNITIES that aging can bring in the coming years and the results have made it possible to identify the global phenomena and processes that will transform society in the long term.
The results of the evaluation carried out by the experts participating in this Delphi survey serve to assess the relevance of each variable in the system studied. Thus, the Key Variables are composed of those variables with a high level of impact and therefore should be closely monitored and taken into account in the scenarios, especially those with a nearer horizon of occurrence (before 2030).
In 2022, we launched a second Delphi survey aimed at local experts to analyze the potential FUTURE FACTORS most critical for their IMPACT on the social and economic challenges associated with AGING at the local level and their impact horizon. As a result of this survey, the CHALLENGES report is elaborated and the constitutive elements of the system were defined, ratifying the definitive list of key variables and the final architecture of the Watchkeeping System.
It is a permanent advisory body of the Watchkeeping System, composed of experts at the national and international levels, to compare the trends, scenarios and factors previously identified by the Watchkeeping System and to propose themes, work programs and prospective studies for the best formulation of public strategies and policies.
The selection of participants, institutional, technological and social experts, is essential and for this we have networks of international prospective experts (Millennium Project, Global Network of Foresight and Intelligence with over 60 Nodes at international level) and other relevant contacts and networks in the field of ageing and innovation.
Experts selected, annual meetings (face-to-face or virtual) are held in contrast with experts to determine which will be the priority factors, which will have a greater impact on society, what will be the impact horizon, etc. The periodic contrast process comprises several key stages, starting from the identification of critical issues at each moment (formulation of the problem). For each contrast, a discussion paper on identified trends (annual report on global trends) and a questionnaire on future critical issues are developed to reach consensus conclusions on the impact of future trends in the research areas analyzed, using methods such as the Delphi surveys.