Issue/WT foundation news2012.03.20 16:56

Will the Society in the Future be a Threat or an

Opportunity for Social Enterprises?


“It is critically important to know how and when to change.

Because there are no permanent things in the world.”


On the 13th of March, PARK, Young-Sook (Chair, UN Future Forum) gave a speech with three themes at the auditorium of the Gangwon-do Residents Center. As an information officer at the UK Embassy and then a senior aide at the AU Embassy, she became one of the most well-known futurists in Korea. Fifteen years ago, she had already anticipated a low-birth rate in Korea and then established the Korean Foster Care Association (KFCA) to respond to that problem. She has also recently founded the Multi Culture & Single Mom Association.

Proceeding with the theme of at this forum,, she emphasized that the changing future trends will be an important factor for the growth of social entrepreneurs.

She selected the following eight key- words starting with A to H as mega-trends for our future society.



Ageing - low-birth rates and aging population.

Blending - blending, integration

Climate Change

Development of Science &Technology

Education - unlearn, relearn

Female - buildup of femininity


Home Alone – one household homes constitute 35% of all homes.

There might not be quite unfamiliar words among the key words. The key words mean mega-trends that have already been in progress and a variety of Medias often introduced them, debate on how they will progress and, what results will turn out. But the future topic given to us from Ms. PARK is somewhat different from the existing information we often heard about the future

She pointed out to us how the future evolves with what steps in every 10 to 40 years.

She changed the topic with a transition of industrial structure and a type of occupation occurred due to the source of the eight mega-trends. According to her, the Word Future Society selected the following seven industries in 2005 and designated them as a part of core industry in 2015, approximately 10 years later.



1st Biotechnology, nanotechnology, and cognitive engineering

2nd Solar industry (wind force, tidal power, and solar heat -energy field)

3rd GPS, surveillance engineering, and brain engineering.)

4th Medical industry for the elderly (gerontology, the science of nursing, senior industry,

senior community, and alternative organs production industry)

5th Education, labor supply, personal labor, and personal labor force manager (Privacy management and P.R., and personal intellectual property protection)

6th Virtual reality networker (i.e. Half of the population's employment carried out in virtual reality network.

Find open source assistants and initiate joint projects to strengthen competitiveness. Etc.)

7th New Sociology : Psychology, Human Resource



Three years have passed since the World Future Society presented these prospects, and the predictions from it have not been wrong.

She introduced these seven industry fields and added to the following comment. The higher-speed network resulted in a variety of channels people can now access. As a result of this, the approval rate of political authorities and nations are getting lower and their roles became contracted or even eliminated. At the same time, a number of Civil Society Organizations will take charge of some activities of the government such as social securities and social services instead of their nations. In this process, the industrialization many NPO groups briskly occurred and the staff would now obtain the ownership of this kind of industrialized NPOs or companies, not owned by one manager, and they will choose the board of directors by ballot, which is similar to the process of collapse of an absolute monarchy.

At the part of a futuristic enterprise, she depicted an enterprise as being small, but with big networks, the industrialization of associations, coalitions, and NGOs, and with temporary employment by way of projects rather than regular employment. According to her, the purpose of an enterprise stresses social contribution more than profits as well as a sense of belonging to an association or group. The employees are looking for human identity, not to belong to an enterprise or position, and this will greatly affect job offerings.

She stressed that a social enterprises’ characteristics are similar to the future industrial structures pursuing the Double Bottom Line. She also emphasized that social entrepreneurs can be precursors who lead a change in future society.


Her principle is that “There are no “Immutable principles. That means knowledge can be changed and records also can be broken.” The sentence probably shows the necessity of recognizing upcoming events. During the lecture, the participants watched the case of Kodak Company and then realized that social enterprises should not disregard the importance of the future forecast. (The underlying cause of collapse of Kodak Company is that it could not forecast the future item, the digital camera.)


Many of the predictions suggested previously are just a few that generate much anticipation. Considering the instability of social predictions is worse than technical ones, we cannot say that futurists such as Ms. PARK prospects must be right, because there could be a looming crisis or changes while we make our future and the image of the future could be changed. Nevertheless, the reason why many people including entrepreneurs pay attention to the future forecast is that many ridiculous things that someone predicted many moons ago have been currently realized and we believe that the future we are now talking about might be true someday.

This 13th Open Forum suggested that we rethink about what the future holds. It is one of the most important tasks for social entrepreneurs to mull over how to generate profits at present and realize what kinds of social purpose they will carry out with those profits. Moreover, it was meaningful for all of participants to encourage them to get interested in the future and focus on the ideals of futurists like her.



The forum has supported an on-going networking platform between practitioners and researchers to allow them to raise issues about social enterprises since 2007. It is believed that the forum has contributed to expanding the social base for social enterprise issues, with about 100 participants from academics, social enterprises, and students involved in each forum. Under the 'Let's Give Wings to Social Entrepreneurs!’ project, the foundation also promotes the International Study Tour Program for Social Entrepreneurs along with the Open Forum sponsored by SK and Community Chest Korea, cooperating with a variety of social enterprises and organizations.



March 13, 2009


Translated by PARK, Sang Oh

Edited by Chris Wilcox & Marie LEE

Posted by hamkke