Anticipation and Wicked Problems in Public Policy

  • Georgios Kolliarakis
Living reference work entry


This chapter addresses anticipation in contentious public policy fields. It examines the distortions of strategic decision-making caused by the understudied category of Unknown Knowns. Unknown Knowns make up the epistemic domain of self-inflicted ignorance that emerges despite the availability of knowledge. The field of security policy serves in this chapter as an illustrative case in order to exemplify how stakeholders and their framings influence the direction and width of the anticipation horizon. This chapter demonstrates that anticipation has a risky dark side: systemically sidestepping, suppressing, or distracting from inconvenient knowledge, while promoting more “digestible” mainstream visions, scenarios, and trends, makes blind for emerging signals, and undermines the capacity of organizations and institutions to react and plan effectively in critical situations.


Unknown knowns Anticipatory governance Security Policy Security technologies Uncomfortable knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgios Kolliarakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Policy AdviceGerman Council on Foreign RelationsBerlinGermany

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