Introduction to Foresight by Ozcan Saritas


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This presentation gives an introduction to Futures thinking and Foresight with the evolution of the practice and future prospects. Foresight is commonly used by national governments, international organisations and corporations to design long term futures and to formulate innovative strategies and actions.

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Introduction to Foresight by Ozcan Saritas

  1. 1. Introduction to Foresight “Designing scientifically possible, economically feasible and socially desirable futures” Ozcan Saritas
  2. 2. Some ‘drivers of change’  Printing, gunpowder and the compass have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world... (Francis Bacon, 1620).  Improvements in machinery go hand in hand with the division of labor, and very pretty machines ... facilitate and quicken production... (Adam Smith, 1776).  The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the means of production! (Karl Marx, 1848).  Knowledge is the chief engine of progress in the economy (Alfred Marshall, 1897).  The entrepreneur and his search for new combinations is the driving force in all economic development... (Joseph Schumpeter, 1911).  Science and basic research are incredibly powerful sources of future economic and societal development... (Vannevar Bush, 1945). 2
  3. 3. early Foresight… • The existence of human on the earth surface: The act of anticipation as an unavoidable human characteristic • 16th to 18th centuries: To improve decision making and public debate and to anticipate long-term trends and long-term implications of shortterm decisions. Wide scope & wide array of issues due to increasing complexity of societies • 19th century: The future of capitalist economies by classical political economists. Following the industrial revolution: Fragmentation of social studies - more focused and short term orientation of social sciences
  4. 4. Jean-Marc Côté's Visions of the Year 2000 (1899) Foresight from the past 4
  5. 5. Foresight – ’50s & ’60s • ‘50s & ‘60s: The principles of trend extrapolation and social indicators, and the methods of expert analysis (e.g. Delphi & cross-impact). First computer simulations become well-known • The efforts were called as forecasting – the activities concerned with the probabilistic assessment of what is likely to happen in the future • Applications in military and large corporations • The main focus areas were science and engineering • Carried out with a participation of a limited group of experts and futurologists
  6. 6. Foresight – ’50s & ’60s United States • • 1950s - Early technology forecasting - development of main techniques 1960s - Large forecasting exercises by DOD, US Navy, Field surveys (astronomy, life sciences) – Very costly programmes – Within a closed group – BOGSAT – Limited participation
  7. 7. Foresight – ’50s & ’60s Exploring Space (1958) *The first woman in space was Russian Valentina Tereshkova in 1963.
  8. 8. Foresight – ’70s • the 1970s – Change in the understanding of forecasting due to the 1973 oilshock – “Limits to Growth” (Meadows et al., 1972): simple trend analysis was not enough to understand the complexity of the world, thus – forecasting tended to be less deterministic • The future is continued as not the extension of the past • The underlying assumptions changed that discontinuities occurred
  9. 9. Foresight – ’70s Japan (National S&T Forecast) • STA 30-year forecasts - to provide 'holistic' overview. Incorporate economic & social needs as well as S&T advances. Forecasts normative as well as predictive Shell (Corporate Foresight) • In the 1960s a pioneering team of economists, engineers and scientists had started work on Shell’s first scenarios on how the future might unfold and the impact this could have on the company. By 1973 they had shared these early scenarios with Shell’s management, daring them to think the unthinkable: What if the world faced an oil crisis?
  10. 10. Letter to the future (1976) To the people of the year 2076, In a hundred years I think the world will be overpopulated and people will have to live in apartments to accommodate for this. Everything will be able to be recycled and what little that can't will be shot out into space.
  11. 11. Foresight – ’80s • Multiple futures – Foresight: to express a wider frame to consider alternative futures and to create actions to get to the desired goal – La prospective: the multiplicity of the future PRODUCT/ CODIFIED OUTPUT Mixed PROCESS/ NETWORK, TACIT OUTCOMES
  12. 12. Foresight – ’80s • France: Experiments with Foresight (e.g. National Colloquium on Research & Technology) • Sweden, Canada, Australia: Initiatives by government ministries, research funding agencies and industry - mixed experiences • UK, Germany: Little or no foresight • US – Late 1980s - upsurge of interest in foresight due to concerns about competitiveness. Foresight exercises to identify lists of 'Critical Technologies' (such as by DOD, Dep't of Commerce, industrial associations) • Netherlands – Ministry of Economic Affairs - Foresight exercises Ministry of Education and Science - Foresight Steering Committee (+ Ministry of Agriculture - Foresight programme in 1990s)
  13. 13. Shopping in the future (1981) A store of the future is more like a warehouse than a shop of today. The robots serve people who call up the store on their home computers. This robot is showing a bunch of bananas to a video camera, which transmits a picture of the fruit to a customer. It places the purchases in a box which is then delivered to the customer's home.
  14. 14. Foresight - ’90s • Foresight for S&T policy making by government, industry and other organisations • The key elements of Foresight in the 1990s: – S&T is central focus – Systematic process – Longer timeframe than in existing S&T planning – S&T in relation to economic and social developments • “Foresight is the process involved in systematically attempting to look into the longer term future of science, technology, the economy, and society with the aim of identifying areas of strategic research and the emerging new technologies likely to yield the greatest economic and social benefits” (Martin, 1995).
  15. 15. Foresight - ’90s Germany • ISI and BMFT Projektträeger • 30-Year Delphi surveys of S&T - collaboration with Japan • Other foresight exercises (regional, industrial etc.) • Futur initiative – involvement of full range of stakeholders France • Ministry of Industry - identification of 'key technologies' • Ministry for HE & Research - Delphi survey • Other lower-level foresight e.g. at regional level UK • 1994-95 - National Technology Foresight Programme - identified 27 generic S&T priorities + 18 infrastructure priorities Process benefits substantial - addressed areas of UK weakness • 1999-2000 - Second Foresight Programme • 2002-date – new form of Foresight focusing on specific areas
  16. 16. Carnucopia (1993) According to the company Empruve, this futuristic multimedia device from 1993, "will become as much an integral part of our lives as the telephone, the television, the typewriter and the book." The photo and its caption (below) were found in the book Understanding Hypermedia (Predicted price: $4,000 and $5,000)
  17. 17. Foresight – 2000s • Change in the S&T dominated appearance with increasing concerns on social aspects due to: – The increasing importance of innovation (both technological and organisational) – The development of service economies. Considerable portions of economic activity, employment and output have started taking place in service sectors of the economy – Other developments including globalisation, changes in demographic structures and in cultural practices, and environmental affairs – Recognition of the close relationship between S&T and society
  18. 18. Foresight • “the application of – ‘systematic’, – ‘participatory’, – ‘future-intelligencegathering and medium-tolong-term vision building process’ to – ‘informing present-day decisions and mobilising joint actions’”
  19. 19. Foresight – 2000s The evolution of Foresight is ongoing... • Foresight is distributed and embedded at multiple levels due to the distributed nature of the innovation system. In a distributed system, knowledge acquisition is much more about the ability (e.g. of a firm) to scan and draw upon outside sources of technology and to manage partnerships. • The efforts are not centrally managed or controlled. This type of activity does not refer to any single exercise (where the whole landscape was covered in one single exercise) but rather to a landscape marked by a rich variety of distributed exercises focused upon the visionary needs of particular organisations, communities, spaces. • S&T is still a major area of activity of most programmes.
  20. 20. National Foresight – 2000s Disconnection of STI from socioeconomic problems Lack of funding for STI Creative and disturbing encouraging innovation Links STI to wider issues signalling its relevance Short-term thinking Low industrial STI intensity Forward-looking building future-proofing and agility Weak STI planning capabilities Brain drain Disconnection of science from innovation Little interdisciplinarity Discursive enabling strategic conversations System linkages failures Transparent structured process providing legitimate priorities Participative bringing in new perspectives Builds consensus increasing likelihood of implementation Implementation failures
  21. 21. Regional Foresight – 2000s • Variable rationales. But some arguments for Regional Foresight include: – Growing importance of regional identities and regions as social and economic units – Regions often lack the inclusive and forward-looking institutions to cope with the profound changes they face – Break-down barriers, articulate long-term visions, and explicate their present-day implications
  22. 22. Corporate Foresight – 2000s Some of the rationales for Corporate Foresight  Anticipatory intelligence, i.e. providing background information and an early warning of recent developments  Direction setting, i.e. establishing broad guidelines for the corporate strategy  Determining priorities, i.e. identifying the most desirable lines of R&D as a direct input into specific (funding) decisions  Strategy formulation, i.e. participating in the formulation and implementation of strategic decisions  Innovation catalysing, i.e. stimulating and supporting innovation processes between the different partners
  23. 23. Supra-national Foresight – 2000s Supra-national (Regional) initiatives in the sense of Foresight initiatives taken by a group of countries which together form a region. Rationales:
  24. 24. European Foresight Monitoring Network (EFMN) Foresight exercises per region European Foresight Monitoring Network (EFMN, 2008) 24
  25. 25. Mapping of Foresight activities EFMN (2008) 25
  26. 26. Sponsors & target audiences of Foresight EFMN (2008) 26
  27. 27. Objectives of Foresight EFMN (2008) 27
  28. 28. Sectors focused 28
  29. 29. Foresight methods used EFMN (2008) 29
  30. 30. Foresight outputs EFMN (2008) 30
  31. 31. Foresight – 2010s? • New global context and new drivers of change – Increased financial, trade and investment flows – Rapid and accelerating technological progress; ICTs, biotechnology, fuel cells, nanotechnologies – New international regulations and standards on trade, quality, labor, environment, intellectual property rights – New systems to design, produce, distribute, and manage products and services – Global value chains and production networks
  32. 32. Technological advancements
  33. 33. “Techno-school” • Teaching how to learn • Avatar teachers, assistants • Virtual reality supported classes • Learning by doing • Assessment of the “whole life experience” without exams • Career guidance based on data analysis
  34. 34. “3-D shop” • Create, scan, print technology • 3-D metal and plastic printing • Distributed, just-intime and clean production • Minimum storage and logistics • Energy efficient, clean working and living environment
  35. 35. “Eco-farm” • High technology “precision farming” • Remotely operated GPS-enabled vehicles / equipments • Plant and soil sensors • Automated watering and fertilizing • Enhanced food with increased productivity and increased nutrition • Consumer oriented transparent production
  36. 36. “Future-office” • Foresight and creative uncertainty management • Real time information collection and decisionmaking technologies • Enhanced machines and human • Pro-Technology vs. AntiTechnology movements • Socio-technological studies • Digital arts and creativity
  37. 37. “Personal healthcare” practice • Personal Health Systems (medicine, electronics & ICTs) • Wearable technologies • Real time monitoring systems with body sensors • Automated prescription systems • Healthy people, low health expenditures
  38. 38. Foresight and systems What is feasible? Technology & Economics What is possible? Science & Ecology Systemic Foresight What is desirable? Socioeconomics Politics & Values
  39. 39. STEEPV S T V E P E Foresight
  40. 40. Contexts of Foresight Social system Technological system Economic system Ecological system Political system Values
  41. 41. Key questions to be answered  What kind of developments will occur?  Which ones of them could be beneficial and which ones harmful?  How soon may these developments occur?  What might be the first signs that these developments are happening?  Where and how might the leading indications of impeding change be seen?  Who is in a position anywhere to observe these indications?  What is worth to minimise the extent of surprise introduced by these indications?  Who needs to know about these impending changes? 42
  42. 42. Foresight vs. Forecasting  What kind of developments will occur?  Which ones of them could be beneficial and which ones harmful?  How soon may these developments occur?  What might be the first signs that these developments are happening?  Where and how might the leading indications of impeding change be seen?  Who is in a position anywhere to observe these indications?  What is worth to minimise the extent of surprise introduced by these indications?  Who needs to know about these impending changes? 43
  43. 43. Systemic Foresight methodology   Intelligence Imagination Impact  Interaction  Integration Intervention Interpretation Ref: Saritas, O. (2013). Systemic Foresight Methodology, Foresight and Science, Technology and Innovation Policies: Best Practices, D. Meissner, L. Gokhberg, and A. Sokolov and eds. Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 83-117.   Intelligence – Creates shared understanding and mutual appreciation of issues at hand Imagination – The input from scanning is synthesised into conceptual models of the situations involved in the real world Integration – Analyses the alternative models of the future and ‘prioritises’ them, through intensive negotiations among system actors and stakeholders, to create an agreed model of the future Interpretation – Translates future visions into long-, medium-, and short-term actions for a successful change programme Intervention – Creates plans to inform present day decisions for immediate change to provide structural and behavioural transformations Impact – Assesses the results and impacts of Foresight exercise, learns from experience and provides input for next round
  44. 44. Systemic Foresight Methodology Commonly used Methods (Saritas, 2013)
  45. 45. Foresight journal Editor: Ozcan Saritas 46
  46. 46.