Scanning for emerging s&t issues

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To better prepare policy and decision makers in today’s complex and inter-dependent environments, FTA methods can play a significant role in enabling early warning signal detection and pro-active policy action. This paper analyses the use of different horizon scanning approaches and methods as applied in the SESTI project. A comparative analysis is provided as well as a brief evaluation of meeting the needs of policy-makers in identify areas of intervention by policy formulation. The paper suggests that the selection of the best scanning approaches and methods is subject to contextual and content issues. At the same time, there are certain issues characterising horizon scanning processes, methods and results that should be kept in mind by both practitioners and policy-makers.

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Scanning for emerging s&t issues

  1. 1. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities The SESTI project is funded under the European FP7 and researches the application of weak signals and emerging issues for improving the anticipatory intelligence of the European Commission and the EU Member States on future developments and issues [On Concepts and Methods in Horizon Scanning: Lessons from initiating Policy Dialogues on Emerging Issues] Effie Amanatidou, Maurits Butter, Vicente Carabias, Totti Könnölä, Miriam Leis, Ozcan Saritas, Petra Schaper-Rinkel, Victor van Rij 12-05-2011
  2. 2. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 22 Objectives of the SESTI project • Researching the added value of early warning signal scanning to identify emerging issues • Assessing the pro’s and con’s of several scanning methods • Identifying ways to connect scanning to the policy community
  3. 3. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 33 Lobbyists Advisory boards Planning agencies Voters Decisions for the Future Media Info and Issues
  4. 4. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 4 Weak signals and other concepts Past Present Future Trend hype hype Trend Trend ws: weak signal wc: wildcard wc wc wc ws Emerging issues ws ws ws
  5. 5. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 5 From weak signals to emerging issues $100 internet course ………. ……. Shift to the privitization of education …… ………. 30% extension of life mice Disruption of the pension system Internet offer Research paper
  6. 6. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 66 Why should we look for emerging issues? • Much info and many issues are biased by their bringers, even scientific advice is biased by disciplinary thinking • Media got a good nose for bad news and incidents, they scan the world for this (although there are some good exceptions) • Most issues coming to the policy makers have a short term character • While good governing needs the capacity to foresee and to anticipate • Luckily politicians and policymakers have a good intuition for what the future may bring, but the knowledge they can use for this , is limited to their sources
  7. 7. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 7 Content orientation of SESTI 1. Focus on functional aspects of the innovation system 2. Focus on content Public perception Science and technology developments Organizational changes Healthcare Energy To be chosen X X X X X X X X X
  8. 8. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 8 Overall process of scanning Weak signals assessment Weak signals scanning Signal transformation Issue interpretation Weak signals (long list) Key signals (short list) Key emerging issues Emerging issues
  9. 9. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 9 Approach Project start up Scanning for emerging issues In depth analysis Workshops Knowledge dissemination Processing information WikiHub 7 1 3 4 5 2 6
  10. 10. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 0 1 0 SESTI project • Are there ways to improve the information basis to identify the most important future issues that need policy attention today? • Are there early warning (weak) signals that can be used to identify them? • If so where and how to find them and how to use them to feed them into the policymakers agenda?
  11. 11. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 1 1 1 Definition and criteria emerging issue Emerging issues are storylines (Future Narratives) with: • High impact (on society, economy, ecology and the domain) • Plausible storyline (including factual basis –reliable sources ) • Novelty (is the issue described really new for the policy makers) • Emotional aspects and critical aspects (does the issue appeal or concern emotional and or ethical legal aspects) • Interests at stake (commonalities and or conflicts) • Changeability (Can the story or its impact be altered by human action) • Policy relevance (does the issue relate to present day decision making and action and on different levels)
  12. 12. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 2 1 2 Sources and tools for scanning Non participative / (digital) written sources • Systematic manual scanning (internet –search engines) • Literature study • Text mining Participative / stakeholders & experts • Survey • Wiki • Blogs/linked In /and others like Facebook • Twitter • Workshops etc
  13. 13. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 3 Systematic Internet scanning • Internet Search on internet using search engines provided by : google / bing • Google selects all pages (texts & vids) with the “search string” • sorts the pages that are most connected/central Needed: • Qualified scanners (fast interpretation) • Frame of reference (coordinates/for which domain does the scan take place/criteria) • Intelligent questions • Workshops 1 3
  14. 14. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 4 1 4 SESTI-manual scanning
  15. 15. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 5 Past Present Future Emerging issue BB = Primary signal (full or partial future issue description) = Affirmative Secondary signal = Not affirmative Secondary signal = Expected affirmative signal not showing up = Analysis of Primary signal (leading to indication of Secondary signals to watch for) The principles of Issue Centered Scanning
  16. 16. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 6 Primary signal & secondary signals 1 6
  17. 17. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 7 Emerging issue A Emerging issue B Hype issue C Past Present Future B C A WC ISSUE CENTERED SCANNING
  18. 18. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 8 Wiki/Blog/linked In/Twitter • An invitation is send to experts- stakeholders : Q what they see as new emerging issues /early warning signals? Needed: • own website (SESTI-wiki – blog ) or account on existing platform (Linked In , Face book, Twitter) • Wide variety, qualified willing contribuants • Open /structured set up • Analysts to interpret data (text mining) 1 8
  19. 19. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 1 9 1 9 SESTI Wiki – for emerging issues
  20. 20. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 0 2 0 SESTI Blog /Linked In Blog/Twitter
  21. 21. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 1 Emerging issue F Emerging issue A Emerging issue C Hype issue D Past Present Future WC EXPLORATORY SCANNING
  22. 22. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 2 Exploratory Scanning Characteristics: • Broader scanning area scope and “bottom-up” • Information about singular events • Utilisation of foresight communities – People who are scanning for new information on a regular basis  put up in forums, blogs, discussion lists and finally twitter – Enabling of interdisciplinary discussions about credibility and potential future implications – First assessment to filter out unreliable information – Complementing with focused discussions or surveys 2 2
  23. 23. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 3 Conclusions of Exploratory Scanning • Emerging issue identification and analysis is a complex social process  Interests, agendas and selective perception need to be kept in mind • Human communication with experts/scanners and clients/policy-makers is essential • Quality of original source and transparency of processes impact the interpretation and conclusions • Social networking can provide added value for identification and assessment of signals and emerging issues (but resource constraints exist!) 2 3
  24. 24. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 4 Conclusions of Exploratory Scanning Different approaches can be strategically combined • broaden the spectrum of possible signals (e.g. through crowd sourcing like twitter and blogs for exploratory scanning); • improving the credibility assessment (e.g. by establishing interdisciplinary discussion groups for validation); • complementing the validation process (e.g. by performing issue-centred scans, surveys, workshops etc.) utilising automated tools for clustering and network analysis of issues; • maintaining an interaction between the clients of the analysis (e.g. decision/policy maters) and those who look for the information. 2 4
  25. 25. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 5 2 5 Experience scanning methods Tool Reach /Source Observation time Coherence degree of the signal Quality check Novelty Dialogue Manual scanning Very large www Anytime Large and small Available high NA Literature study Large wwl Anytime Large Available medium NA Survey Specific limited One time Small Low, except experts medium NA Text mining Large Runs with preparation Small ?? Complex ? NA Wiki Specific limited Dependent on participants Large in theory Small in practice Available Medium to high Some Blog Linked In etc Specific limited Dependent on participants Medium to large Dialogue Medium to high Open Twitter Specific limited All the time continuous Small NA high Twitter
  26. 26. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 6 2 6 Scanning methods tested within SESTI Participatory methods Non-participatory methods Conferences Surveys Wiki Twitter Manual support Semi-automated support Text mining Manual scanning
  27. 27. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 7 Evaluation criteria Policy – makers noted importance of scanning to identify: • the connections, clustering of weak signals and the degree of relevance to a specific area; • the duration of the ‘weakness’ of the signal associated also with the time the signal is observed, the origin and the novelty of the weak signals; • any rising ethical, legal, societal or cultural issues; • the existence of a strategy already concerned with the specific weak signal(s) / emerging issues by a government or industry, lobby or international organisation; • positive and negative impacts and associated policy implications; • policy recommendations. 2 7
  28. 28. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 8 Conclusions of Evaluation • Need different approaches as all have advantages and disadvantages • Overall, participatory methods are of crucial importance for the last stages of the scanning process enabling verification and filtering of results as well as policy implication and recommendations. • Semi-automated methods are appreciated especially those drawing on large expert communities in terms of enabling systematic scanning and retrieval of ‘inside’ information in the first scanning phases as well as in verifying the results. • The value of the more ‘conventional’ methods like expert surveys, literature review and conference visits is more relevant for targeted tasks requiring expert inputs. 2 8
  29. 29. Scanning for emerging science and technology issues Project funded under the Socio- economic Sciences and Humanities 1/30/2015SESTI presentation at the FTA 2011 conference 2 9 2 9 • TNO: Main coordinator • MinOCW: Scanning (v.vanrij@minocw.nl) • AIT: Processing of information • UniMan: In depth analysis • IPTS: Policy workshops • MCST: Knowledge dissemination SESTI-Partners [www.sesti.info]

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