Role of Techno-Economic Coalitions in Future Cyberspace Governance: 'Backcasting' as a Method for Strategic Foresight


  • Mari Ristolainen Finnish Defence Research Agency



National Cybersecurity Policy, Cyberspace Governance, Cyber Defence, Techno-Economic Coalitions, 'Backcasting', Strategic Foresight, Strategic planning


In an increasingly complex threat landscape, many nations struggle with developing and implementing effective cybersecurity policies for cyberspace governance at a national and international level. Balancing between the demands for establishing national sovereignty and strengthening international collaboration in cyberspace have become a problematic assignment. Collaborating with nations supporting extensively dissimilar ideologies and cybersecurity policies is controversial. Yet, it is almost impossible for a single country to achieve 'self-sufficiency' in cyberspace. Thus, in order to remain competitive, protected, and resilient one must either join or strengthen a developing techno-economic coalition with similar national cybersecurity policies and/or ideological framework. Consequently, this paper argues that techno-economic coalitions serve as an emerging issue or trend for strategic foresight in cyberspace governance in the future. This paper discusses the potential formation of techno-economic coalitions and shows how 'backcasting' can be used in strategic foresight. In this paper, 'backcasting' is not used as a method for creating a traditional strategic map to a future goal, but as a framework for determining what should have happened in order for the techno-economic coalitions to emerge in future cyberspace, i.e. for finding issues or trends that should be followed in strategic foresight today. Firstly, cyberspace governance in relation to national cybersecurity policies is contextualised. Secondly, the concept of techno-economic coalition is defined and the potential emerging techno-economic coalitions are explicated. Thirdly, 'backcasting' as a method for strategic foresight is described. Fourthly, the results of a 'backcasting' experiment in a strategic foresight workshop are presented. And finally, the future formation and role of techno-economic coalitions in cyberspace governance and in cyber defence both at a national and international level are discussed. The role of techno-economic coalitions in future cyberspace governance should be understood and considered today when developing strategic plans and implementing national and international cybersecurity policies.