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  • Horizon scanning is a powerful method which can be used to base strategic and tactic decisions. The terminology refers to a maritime environment where captains of ships continuously scanned the horizon either for land or to determine threats like icebergs or pirate ships. A definition I like is the definition of DEFRA later also used by David king that we modified a little ,
  • Also the ones which are at the margins of current thinking and planning. The we depends on who will be involved in the scan, so the selection of participants and consultation is crucial. Horizon scanning may explore novel and unexpected issues, weak signals, as well as persistent problems or trends .
  • Also the ones which are at the margins of current thinking and planning. Horizon scanning may explore novel and unexpected issues, weak signals, as well as persistent problems or trends .
  • UK Government Ooffice of Science & Technology, under direct responsabilty of the gov Scientific advisor Netherlands COS was umbrella of so called (consultative) Sector Councils for Research and Development, for different policy domain as Health, nature and environment (RMNO our host of today) , agricuture Danish in assignment of the Ministry od science and innovation
  • Multi functional use , feeding the public debate DEMOS) - Rathenau,but also usable as alerting function (many examples as financial crisis, epidemics etc) STEEP- Societal, Technology and Science,Economy and finance, environment (physical), Policy (& governance)
  • The UK and the Danish scan left the selection of issues to extern organisations as the Future Institute and the OECD with internal feedback,this brought some risk of bias coming from these organisations, especially in the OECD scan there is much more refernce to OECD sources as in the Nethrelands and the UK scan. The UK scan and the Netherlands scan therefore are more rich in faint signals and issues which are at the margins of current thinking and planning.
  • 1. Impact:Values should be explicited before and during preselection of dat (during literature survey) , feed back should be sought with representative sounding boards . 2 For probability and plausibility judgement multiple angles experts, 3. also for desirability it is important to explicit the weighting of sometimes countervauiling values. 4.The rate of changeability seems a scientific matter (like the reliable unchangeable rotation of the earth etc) but also here especially when social processes are involved experts may have very different views (for instance to what extent can we change consumer behaviour etc) 5. If we repeat the scan after 2 or 3 yeras we will see that the issue probably moved through the other dimensions , it may have become mor or lesss desirable, more or less certain , and we may have a different view on its impact, by assessing the shift in these dimensions we can assess whether or not issues have moved to more “ certain desirable impact “ Scanning usually starts with literaturearture search (scan of scans and futures) the persons who are doing the scans should be aware of the fact that selection of issues is a value based process, for this reason it is important to explicit the values before and during teh selaction process again the””we”” raises the question who is involved and should be involved (depending on on the mission of the organsiation or level of government for whom the scan is executed
  • Here we viliualise how issues could be placed in a value matrix, the only missing dimension is time , it would be fun to have a movie showing all the issues moving in this matrix, human action should try to push most issues to the upper corner in the left, back of the matrix (desirable, certain , and stable (unchangeable), or if the desire contains changeability (to have more flexibilty) the issue should move just to the upper back of the martrix. WE should take into account that almost all issues are moer or less connected and tha these connection (mutual ) inlfluences also will vary in time , this is where scenario’s and road maps are build for
  • To give an impression of the values that we can take into account for a national HS, we give the example of the netherlands scan, as you can see that next to the usual, socio, economic and environment (or people, profit and planet) some moer attention has beemn given to explicitaion on the juridical, cultural and intellectual and integovernmental or peace dimension
  • 1.Plausibility high but only after after debate of decades amongst experts 2.Estimated Impact (without action) on many values such as economy, agriculture and food, health, biodiversity 3.Generally threats are seen, but there may be also positive effects 4. The change of climate according theory is influenced by man but it is doubtful that we can undertake measures to alter it course. The limitation of greenhouse emmisions and even q Sequestration is advocated to diminish the change of climate. A lot can however be done to adapt to the change
  • With the cilmate issue it is clear that our desire would be no emmissions of green house gases , to create a more desirable situation which will make our climate less cahngeable (and stable) we try to reduce (mitigate ) the greenhouse level , unfortunately we see that the increase (drive by our economical value system) is less changeable than desirable, so we can do our best andto change but a realistic or idealistic estimation will show us that we will move slowly to more desirable (perhaps even after a period of movemnt to even less desirable from this very moment. In the matrix I put a very optimistic oictur on the success of mitigation. Looking at this picture we can also put forwrd other srategis whis take into account what will change in our climate and thereofre in our system to see how we can amke the best of the changing environmen (strategy of daptation. Also here it is unclear whether or not this will work but somehow it seems that more easier to take this path (Example plan Veerma, Flod and castal defense Uk etc), the reason for this is that at least rich countries can play this card (regionally). Of course this does not mean that we should stop mitigation but we should bet on both horses
  • Danish case, Netherlands robotics
  • Foresee is not forecast


  • 1. Joining Horizon Scans Thinking, debating and shaping the Future Victor van Rij Towards Knowledge Democracy 25-27 August, 2009, Leiden
  • 2. Foresight and Horizon scanning Brief explanation horizon scanning Joint Horizon scan project (ERA Net For society) Theory on Horizon scanning Relation of Horizon scanning with Knowledge Democracy, Problems , Ideas for solutions
  • 3. Some remarks about foresight and horizon scanning
    • Foresight is not about forecasting nor fortune telling. Some issues can be predicted (and will happen), others can be foreseen (and may happen) , others we cannot foresee.
    • If we foresee things that may happen we can just allow these to happen or not to happen (let history take its course) and deal with the consequences, but we might also think of ways (actions, strategies policies) to accelerate things to happen or to slow them down alter them or to prevent them to happen at all.
    • Already, by debating things that will happen in combination with things that may happen we may already have changed the way of history, because actors involved in a foresight process will think and probably act differently (than without the foresight)
    • So foresight is about shaping and creating future more to our will
    • and to activate and align people and to coordinate there actions
  • 4. Horizon scanning and Foresight
    • Instruments to shape the future to (common) desires, needs after participative thinking and debating
    • Horizon scanning
    • Systematic Search for Issues with Potential high (Future) Impact on what we consider to be important
    • Issues are statements about the future, based on outcomes of research, trend analysis, scenario studies, weak or faint signal analysis but also on our imagination
    • Issues are therefore based on a mix of scientific knowledge and tacit knowledge including our imagination
    Horizon scanning
  • 5. Horizon scanning methods, outcomes
    • Methods
    • - Literature, website & blog surveys, interviews, brainstorms, expert and stakeholder meetings, essays
    • Outcomes
    • Listings and descriptions of issues with impact on our future – websites publications
    • Analysis of interaction of issues and their combined impact (clusters of issues (NE) or concentrated to test departmental strategies on resilience (UK)) recommendations (NE)
    • - Process outcomes (learning effects participants etc)
    Horizon scanning
  • 6. Foresight and Horizon scanning Joint Horizon scan project (ERA Net For society) Joint Horizon scan
  • 7. Joint Horizon scan
  • 8. Joint Horizon scan / comparison Three national Horizon scans : UK: Horizon Scanning Centre GOS NE : Netherlands Horizon Scan COS / Ministry of Education, Culture and Science DK : Danish Horizon Scan / OECD-Danish Agency for Science Technology and Innovation (DASTI) Joint Horizon scan
  • 9. Foresight and Horizon scanning Joint Horizon scan
  • 10. Comparison Main aims of the National Horizon Scans Feeding the (evidence) base of policies(UK) Feeding the foresight agenda (NE), foster the future thinking culture of policymakers (UK) Feeding the knowledge and research agenda (DK , NE) (implicit targets more resilient policies, sustainable solutions) Joint Horizon scan
  • 11. Joint Horizon Scan comparison Joint Horizon scan Distribution of the selected issues over the main domains Category United Kingdom Denmark Netherlands total Society 18,5 22,4 7,5 15,6 Science & technology 16,4 8,8 15,1 13,7 Economy/Finance 21,2 21,6 18,9 20,5 Environment/Ecology 13,7 15,2 23,3 17,7 Politics/Public services 30,1 32,0 35,2 32,6 total number of issues 146 125 159 430
  • 12. Comparison Different aims , slightly different methods , potential multi functionality of the instrument Wide scopes (all STEEP areas are covered – although different distribution of issues) , opening up new ideas on relations between issues Large overlap of issues, level of granulation comparable, attempts to characterise the issues on impact, probability etc Embedded (UK, NE?, DK??) Joint Horizon scan
  • 13. Common problems How to be effective? Client orientation? Who selects and prioritises the issues (values, criteria, value conflicts) – connections to other scans (on different levels, on different policy domains, worldwide) ? Facts, proven facts and desires (scientific quality) ? Complexity (non linearity, issue interaction, unknown effects of interference, conflicting values) The unknowns , weak signals, evaluation of the method Joint Horizon scan
  • 14. Foresight and Horizon scanning Theory on Horizon scanning
  • 15. Issue dimensions
    • IMPACT : Issues that may have great or less great impact on what we see as important (seize of impact)
    • PROBABILITY & PLAUSIBILITY : Issues that are certain or less certain but still plausible (probability and plausibility)
    • DESIRABILITY : Issues that are desirable or not desirable for society (desirability, common or opposed values)
    • CHANGEABILITY : Issues that are not changeable or changeable by human action (changeability)
    • TIME : moment of observation , interaction, dynamics
    Some theory
  • 16. + Issues with Potential high Impact on what we consider to be important certainty desirability changeability Climate Change Nuclear War NBIC convergence The Internet Migration Ageing society Some theory
  • 17. Desires/Values
    • 1. Biological dimension : Quality of life, Health, Ecological Quality
    • 2. Social dimension : Social Quality
    • 3. Economic financial dimension: Economic Quality
    • 4. Governmental dimension : Juridical and Democratic Quality
    • 5. Cultural, ethical and intellectual dimension : Cultural, ethical and intellectual Quality
    • 6. Self realization of (future) citizens, freedom of individuals and of religious and cultural expression
    • 7. Social cohesion, Good neighborhood dimension : International relationship Quality
    Some theory
  • 18. Example (2005)
    • Climate change (theory, trends, signals)
    • Plausibility high
    • Estimated Impact high3v
    • Desirability low
    • Issue Changeable? Limited
    • Impact changeable? Perhaps
    Some theory
  • 19. certainty changeability desirability Climate Change Adaptation Mitigation Some theory
  • 20. Foresight and Horizon scanning Relation of Horizon scanning with Knowledge Democracy, Problems , Ideas for solutions
  • 21. Importance for knowledge democracy
    • Horizon/trend scans are performed more and more on many places
    • Sometimes through participative processes but also by small expert groups
    • Although the importance for public governance is neglected by many, there is a silent influence on the agenda setting (what are the important issues)
    • Good horizon scanning needs democratic/participative processes
    • A knowledge democracy may be served by good horizon scanning processes which could be the centre point of good governance on many governance levels
    Relation Knowledge Democracy
  • 22. 1. Meaning of HS for democracy
    • Feeding the Public debate for agenda setting and scoping of further deliberation, relating this to the research agenda
    • Input for policy / decision makers to develop resilient and sustainable policies
    • But: How to reach the busy decision makers ?
    • How to overcome the dilemma of “present day agenda” and “simple incidents” versus “ long term strategy on complex sets of issues”
    • How do we get attention and time of the decision makers (time for the future) ,
    Relation Knowledge Democracy
  • 23. 2. Meaning of democracy for good HS
    • Identification of issues: What do we see as important (what are the values that we take into account to select issues)
    • Estimations of plausibility and of impact of an issue (collective responsability)
    • Changeability : The possibility and willingness to change the issues or to react upon the supposed impact by deliberate human action
    Relation Knowledge Democracy
  • 24. Solutions for 1.
    • Classical Solutions
    • Involvement of HL (or key) decision makers in the process (EC Far horizon)
    • “ client oriented “ foresight (only foresight on demand of decision makers)
    Relation Knowledge Democracy
  • 25. Solutions for 1.
    • Classical Solutions
    • Or do we need
    • other institutional arrangements
    • considering the fact that “Good governance requires foreseeing” we should review or governmental institutions on their foreseeing capacity:
    • “ Chamber for incidental policy” and a “Chamber for long term policy” ?
    • Remove barriers for trans disciplinary research, stimulate this where necessary
    Relation Knowledge Democracy
  • 26. Solutions for 2.
    • Participative processes to set the criteria for identification and priority setting of
    • Issues (CIVICS)
    • Participative processes to feed in issues (wiki’s, blogs) (SESTI)
    • Involvement of HL decision makers in the process (champions)
    Relation Knowledge Democracy