In September 2022, CashEssentials hosted a Futures Literacy Lab on the role of cash in the future monetary landscape in association with the UNESCO Chair for the Future of Finance. During this IACA webinar, the lab facilitators will show how futures literacy provides a rigorous framework to imagine the future of cash and share some of the key takeaways from the lab.
The future of cash is of obvious and critical importance for all stakeholders in the cash cycle but how can we effectively integrate the future into policy, business strategy and action plans? What frameworks, tools, and processes enable us to better understand the implications of a necessarily imaginary future?
Is it the forecasts that central banks develop and finetune? Could it be the diverse scenarios that are generated by events such as the Global Financial Crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic? Is there some way to predict the unexpected, such as the double-digit growth of cash in circulation experienced by 75% of the world’s currencies in 2020?
Some people put their faith in algorithms and artificial intelligence, hoping they will provide the capability to predict the future. But human behaviour and the complex emergent systems of our collective activities are not predictable. The only certainty is uncertainty.
Science-fiction offers an example of why it is both difficult and important to imagine different futures. The 1887 novel by Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward predicted the adoption of credit cards in 2000. In Star Wars, on the other hand, the Galactic Credit Standard is backed by a rare metal. In the 2011 dystopian film, In Time, fiat currency has been replaced by time as each person has a clock on their arm which measures the amount of time they have to live. Such imagined futures alter what we expect, but also what we decide in the present.
In 2022, CashEssentials hosted a futures literacy lab, in association with the UNESCO Chair for the Future of Finance to imagine the role of cash in the future monetary landscape.
Futures Literacy Laboratories are an advanced, field-tested methodology for exploring these questions and gaining new insights into the nature and impact of imagined futures. During the Lab participants deploy their collective intelligence to present and assess probable and desirable futures. Using action-research/action-learning tools the Lab offers the opportunity to analyse the burning questions facing the future of cash. For instance, the fundamental ethical issues related to the future of cash, ranging from loss of privacy to concentration of knowledge and data. The Lab takes participants beyond deterministic extrapolations and techno-fatalism to examine changes that are inspired by open and creative futures.
The Lab was moderated by Riel Miller, Senior Fellow at the Ecole des Ponts Business School and one of the world’s leading strategic foresight designers. Sessions were facilitated by futurists – Martin Calnan, UNESCO Chair for Futures Literacy; Petteri Lillberg, Demos Helsinki – and experts from the cash community – Katrina Brendle, Deutsche Bundesbank; Päivi Heikkinen, Bank of Finland; Antti Heinonen, former director of Banknotes at the ECB; Guillaume Lepecq, CashEssentials; Richard Wall, former Head of Currency at the Bank of Canada; Alex Bau, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
During this webinar, the panel will discuss how futures literacy provides a tool to improve our perception of possible, plausible and desirable futures for cash. Key take-aways from the lab will be shared and discussed.