Bangkok, Thailand – The future is uncertain, but the issues we face today can give rise to a range of alternative futures that could impact how people live, work and play 30 years from now.

Contemplating on these plausible scenarios, 432 students forming 83 teams from Singapore, Egypt and Thailand put forward their alternative views of the future at Shell’s Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition. Shell, a pioneer in the use of scenarios with 50 years of experience, taps onto this skill to enable youths to stretch their thinking and imagination to address our energy challenges. These scenarios also take into account other driving forces, from human behaviour towards the environment and conservation, the globalised and liberal adoption of technology, to regional cooperation and socio-political ideology – to explore alternative views of the future and the potential challenges that come with it.

Based on the topic of ‘More and Cleaner Energy in an Asia Pacific or Middle Eastern city in 2050 – How will residents live, work, and play?’, the finalist teams from Singapore, Egypt and Thailand presented their contrasting possibilities for the future at the regional finals of the competition (11 Aug), after besting others at the national level in their respective countries. The Singapore team from Nanyang Technological University presenting Koshi vs Banbo emerged as the regional winner of this year’s Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition.

“Our congratulations to the winning team from Singapore and we are also very proud of the Thailand team. I hope the Thai team will be making the best use of the good friendship and the invaluable experience from the competition to explore ways to increase awareness about Energy Transition to the greater public for our sustainable future,” said Panun Prachuabmoh, Country Chairman, The Shell Company of Thailand Limited.

“We are very pleased for the Singapore team. Though we were not the winner this time, we were proud to be part of this competition. The Imagine the Future Competition has helped widen our perspective not only about the importance of energy but also of how to create and develop our ideas through exhaustive scenarios. We gained invaluable knowledge learning about great teamwork and working with all the experienced people from Shell. These are important skills for us in both our daily and working lives,” added the Good Night Consulting Team from the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy, Thammasat University.

“Shell Scenarios is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Over the decades, we have seen the importance of scenario planning in policy making, urban design and city planning. This tool helps private and public sectors explore and anticipate alternative futures. Indeed, scenarios are meant to challenge our thinking processes and stretch the boundaries of what might or might not be possible in future. But more urgently, the discipline of scenarios thinking forces us to consider what needs to be done in the present to successfully navigate the future,” said Dr Valery Chow, Senior Advisor and Head of Judges of Imagine the Future APAC & Middle East Scenarios Competition.

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2050 through the eyes of the younger generation

Honeybee vs Lazy Sloth, by Thammasat University, Thailand

Focusing on the environment, the Thailand team weighed how natural disasters could drastically impact society, human behaviour and technology. In “Honeybee”, natural disasters become commonplace and this turbulence unites people as they recognise the importance of conservation to protect societal health and wellbeing. While some industries such as insurance will grow in response, other such as infrastructure will need to be redesigned.

On the other hand, in the “Lazy Sloth” scenario where natural disasters are a rarity, people tend to be individualistic. The economy is also able to focus on the growth of the economy and technology as it paves the way for more efficient production of goods and services.

NTU team presenting their scenarios during the local competition  held in Singapore on January 22, 2020.
NTU team presenting their scenarios during the local competition held in Singapore on January 22, 2020.

Koshi vs Banbo by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

With technology adoption as the main variable, the Singapore team explored two distinct storylines that could play out in Tokyo, Japan. The selection of Tokyo mirrors the modern universal issues that the developed world is currently facing, such as an ageing society, increasing land constraints, and income inequality.

The first, “Koshi” (広至), which translates to a vast expanse in Japanese, paints the picture of an integrated world where a globalised and extremely liberal outlook towards technology has resulted in its widespread dominance. For example, fully automated self-driving cars, floating cities, plant-based diets, genetic editing, and weather control are the technological advances that impact residents’ lifestyles in the “Koshi” world.

The second, “Banbo” (万保), which means greater security, presents an opposite world where nationalistic and conservative mindsets have led people to be guarded against external forces. The adoption of technology takes on a different direction here. People use predictive simulations such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to balance out energy needs and global climate needs to ensure the safe use and optimsation of technology, prior to its implementation.

A Diamond in the Rough vs For Mother Africa! by University of Science and Technology at Zewail City, Egypt

With African regional cooperation and socio-political ideology as the key driving forces, the Egypt team presented two contrasting scenarios revolving around these concepts. In “A Diamond in the Rough”, the Egyptian city of Aswan is marked by minimal regional cooperation and conservative socio-political ideology. At the same time, it shifts the city towards self-sufficiency and to explore sustainable and even controversial agricultural methods such as hydroponic agriculture, insect farming, and genetic modification.

On the contrary, Aswan in the “For Mother Africa!” scenario is characterised by optimal regional cooperation and progressive socio-political ideology that promotes mutual relationships on economic and cultural fronts. In this scenario, Aswan emerges as a multi-cultural trade centre that serves as a gateway to the continent and an assembly point that connects the region.

For Media Enquiries:

Thitipa Laxanaphisuth
Country External Relations Manager
The Shell Company of Thailand Ltd
T: +66 (0) 2 262 7839

Chanidapha Chongpatiyutt

H+K Strategies Thailand
M +66 (0) 2-627-3501 #127

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