Governance structures are systems of management that we use to organize ourselves. They allow us to develop cohesive policies while providing accountability to achieve organizational and societal goals.
If we are to work towards building sustainable communities we need to stop reacting to the consequences of our past decisions and focus on understanding the social-ecological systems we are a part of, allowing us to anticipate future needs. Anticipatory governance responds to this need by anticipating, not responding to social forces and critical public policy issues. Integral to this, is wide-spread community engagement, social capital, integrated networks, knowledge transfer and relationship building for meaningful implementation on the ground. From this emerges new organizational structures for analysis and policy creation that are long-ranged, adaptive, innovative, holistic and inclusive leading to integrated decision-making.
The diagram below explores the importance of key concepts related to anticipatory governance that have emerged from the data the Canada Research Chair has collected over the last 12 years. The overall square totals 100% with each of the smaller squares showing how much each theme contributes to anticipatory governance. The size of each square illuminates the importance of that particular concept.