Actionable Futures Project


Project title

Making Distant Futures Actionable: Innovating for a Zero-Carbon Future

Project Management

  • Professor Majken Schultz (PI and project responsible) 
  • Professor Tor Hernes (project responsible)

Funded by


Project period

  • 2021-2024

Project focus

Industry has a critical role to play in accelerating the Green Transition, crucial to the creation of a knowledge-based sustainable society. Accelerating the Green Transition, depends on the ability of actors to create sustained mutual interplay between innovative solutions and distant climate goals. With barely more than a decade left to prevent long-term damage to the planet, there is an urgent need to understand how we can make distant futures actionable. “Making Distant Futures Actionable” is a project that investigates how on-going innovative solutions are integrated into long-term climate goals.

The overall purpose of the project is to obtain relevant, rigorous knowledge of the conditions under which actors create sustained interplay between long-term climate goals and innovative solutions. Research has amply demonstrated how innovative solutions may fail to fulfill their potential to contribute toward longer-term goals, if the solutions are not closely translated into the goals from an early stage, or distant goals are not sufficiently well narrated to frame innovative solutions towards those goals.

The project seeks answers to the following questions:

(1) How do focal actors (strategic level) translate long-term climate goals so that they frame innovative solutions?

(2) How do specialized actors (mainly operational level) translate innovative solutions into long-term climate goals through their activity?

(3) What specific management challenges arise from translating between innovative solutions and climate goals?

Developing solutions for a zero-carbon future requires collaboration between actors who rely on different technologies and temporal orientations. Therefore, the project will investigate how multiple actors create interplay between innovative solutions and long-term climate goals in specific collaborative projects across the following industries: Food, life science, and energy, which are all fundamentally important to a zero-carbon future.

The project incorporates a temporal lens premised on the idea that different actors working with solutions of different time horizons may complement one another in collectively achieving 2050 climate goals. The theoretical focus is to develop and apply the concept of “temporal translation” to theorize how actors can create sustained interplay between solutions with different time horizons. A broader scientific purpose is to develop a new research agenda that integrates concepts from temporality, innovation, and climate research in ways useful to both future research and society.

Follow the Project

The project is part of the Centre for Organization and Time. The project will regularly host open seminars relevant to the research themes and participate in international conferences, such as EGOS and Academy of Management. 
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The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 02/11/2021