Founded in 2019, the Portulans Institute (PI) is an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Washington DC.
Thought leadership through our ideas
Innovation and excellence in our activities
Integrity, trust, and diversity in engagement with partners
Technology has progressed at a very fast pace over the last few decades and it today permeates all aspects of business and society. Information technology adoption has not only become ubiquitous through the rapid penetration of the mobile phone and the Internet, but it has become an integral part of the lives of billions of people.
Innovation is a key driver for the growth and prosperity of nations. Not only is innovation crucial for economic value creation, but it is also important for opening up new avenues for people to fulfill their aspirations. Successful innovation requires investments in a range of factors including regulatory and institutional instruments, human capital, infrastructure, markets and business readiness.
Talent issues have become a mainstream concern for firms, nations, and cities. Talent performance is now clearly seen as key to growth, job creation, and innovation. New approaches are emerging to stimulate entrepreneurial talent. Such strategies affect all aspects of talent competitiveness, including education, skilling and re-skilling, attracting external talents, and fostering co-creation with local ones.
Cultural, economic, political, educational, and other social issues are rising around the implications of new information and communication networks across the world. New technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) have raised Utopian views on their transformative potential for work and leisure, but also dystopian visions. Portulans Institute seeks to marshal data and related evidence, from case studies to global surveys and data collections, such as the Network Readiness Index (NRI), to critically examine claims about the social implications of new technologies and emerging assemblages of media technologies.
Portulans (or portolans) are ancient nautical maps, first made in the 13th century in the Mediterranean basin and later expanded to include other regions. The word portolan comes from the Italian portulano, meaning “related to ports or harbors”, and which since at least the 17th century designates “a collection of sailing directions”. In these maps, only a few harbors were visible, and much of the coastlines were hypothetical.
In an uncertain world, much is yet to be explored, and many opportunities have yet to be identified. Like the navigators of the 16th century, modern leaders have to make decisions on the basis of imperfect information and incomplete maps.
The Portulans Institute aims at providing them with the best available data and analyses, and the directions that they need. This is why our logo combines a compass, and pi, which is not only a powerful number found in geometry, algebra, physics and arts, but also an infinite series of digits, with no rule telling us what the next one might be.