Nicolas Balcom Raleigh

Complexity; Transformation; Emergence; Futures Literacy; Sustainability Innovation; Participatory Methods; Game-based Futuring; Creativity & Criticality; Scenarios; Critical Futures Studies


Balcom Raleigh is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in broadening societal understanding of how the futures people imagine are linked to their capabilities to perceive potential change and innovate. His particular focus is on introducing futures literacy to sustainability innovators who are working to address the climate emergency, helping them develop this capability, and develop understanding how futures literacy functions and what its impacts can be.

He has a master’s degree in Futures Studies (Turku School of Economics - University of Turku, May 2017).  In his master’s thesis he developed a role-driven futuring game called Metaphor Molecule which later has been used as a reframing exercise in Futures Literacy Labs and as the basis for the BioEcoJust Game developed to reflect upon existing and emergent BioEthos.

He started at Finland Futures Research Centre in June 2015 as Millennium Project Intern and continued as a research assistant as part of a benchmarking study for the centre’s Masters Degree Program in Futures Studies. He then joined the Futures of Cities and Communities project in May 2016 and a year later officially began as a project researcher.

Before becoming an academic researcher, he worked in the field of online communications (2000-2014) for public companies, private companies, and Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota) launching a few of the world’s first e-newsletters, websites, online training, and social media strategies.

He is Vice President / future president of Foresight Europe Network (2021-2022), Co-Chair to the UNESCO Chair on Learning for Transformation and Planetary Futures at University of Turku, and member of the UNESCO Global Futures Literacy Network.


Balcom Raleigh’s PhD research focuses on the interrelations between complexity, transformation, capabilities, and imagination in contexts of sustainability innovation to address the climate emergency. His PhD supervisors are Professor Toni Ahlqvist (University of Turku) and Dr. Riel Miller (UNESCO).  

He is a project researcher in the SUSCON project, funded by Business Finland, and leads work to introduce futures literacy to shipbuilder supply chains.

He was part of the EIT Climate-KIC Deep Demonstration on Long-Termism (June 2019 - December 2020) and continues to be part of its off-shoot, the Long-Term Alliance. The goal of this international consortium is to foster long-termism in the finance sector, political sector, and wider society to raise collective ambition and prioritisation of addressing severe long-term consequences of climate change. As part of this Deep Demonstration, Balcom Raleigh led the Futures Literacy across the Deep (FLxDeep) funded by EIT Climate KIC (see, 2019-2020).

He was part of the futures team of the Bioeconomy and Justice (BioEcoJust) project funded by Academy of Finland(January 2018 to December 2020). This project explored justice and ethical issues that could arise from a full transition to bioeconomy up until year 2125.

Previous to the above, he was part of the Future Potentials of Big Data for European Growth Corridor Development targeted analysis funded by ESPON (May 2018 to August 2019); the Futures of Cities and Communities project focusing on complexity and futures of mobility in Turku 2050 (May 2016 to December 2017); a benchmarking study of international Master's Degree Programs in Futures Studies (January to  March 2016); the Millennium Project's Future of Work/Technology 2050 study (June to December 2015); and the NeoCarbon Energy Project funded as a Tekes strategic opening (June to August 2015).


Balcom Raleigh is responsible teacher of FUTULAB3 Participatory Scenario Planning. This course gives students practical experience in participatory scenario planning with an actual case organization. He co-taught the preceding version of the course, Scenario Thinking, with Amos Taylor in 2019; and with Markku Wilenius and Amos Taylor in 2018.

In 2017, Balcom Raleigh co-designed and co-taught the Finland Futures Academy Summer School which was organized as a UNESCO MOST Futures Literacy Lab on the topic of Complex Futures of Human Settlements.

As a teacher, he is interested in experience-driven education, communities of iniquiry, and participatory action research. 


Last updated on 2023-02-01 at 01:31