The impact of foresight on innovation


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The impact of foresight on innovation

  1. 1. Research Evaluation, 19(2), June 2010, pages 91–104 DOI: 10.3152/095820210X510133; The impact of foresight on innovation policy-making: recent experiences and future perspectives Attila Havas, Doris Schartinger and Matthias Weber Foresight has evolved as a distinct prospective analytical tool: it considers alternative futures of various S&T fields or socio-economic systems by bringing together the perspectives of various stakeholder groups, and thus assists the decision-making processes at different levels. However, in order to avoid hypes — and subsequent disappointments — about what foresight can deliver, the potential contributions to decision-making processes by foresight should be clearly understood. The article puts foresight into this broader context of policy-making processes, with a particular emphasis on innovation policy. It describes the evolution of different policy rationales since the 1960s, develops a framework to classify the impacts of various types of prospective analyses, and reviews the evaluation results of several national foresight programmes by using this framework. On that basis, future directions of how foresight might evolve are considered to spur discussions.T HE EVOLUTION OF foresight since its in- ception in Europe in the 1990s is a success story in several respects. It has acquiredprominence as a process aiming to support forward-looking thinking in decision-making, for both public already given way to a significant deal of scepticism in several countries. Clearly, a strong need is emerg- ing for a more realistic assessment of the strengths and the weaknesses of various types of prospective analyses.policies and businesses. This is reflected, for in- There are two main reasons for this approach:stance, in the wide range of applications to whichthe initial national technology foresight approach 1. Embedding foresight in the decision-making pro-has been transferred over the past few years: multi- cesses is a far from trivial task; andcountry and regional levels; as well as sectoral per- 2. The requirements from the new application do-spectives; and various policy domains, beyond sci- mains where foresight is used are not only chal-ence, technology and innovation (STI) policies. lenging, but also different from science, In spite of this apparent success, the perspectives technology and innovation policies.for the future use and impacts of foresight are farfrom clear. The notion of ‘hype–disappointment In this article, we look specifically at one of the pol-cycles’, originally developed to describe the patterns icy domains where foresight has become moreof attention paid to emerging technologies, might be prominent: innovation policy. The article proceedsapplicable to foresight, too: initial enthusiasm has along four main steps. First, we position foresight in the context of policy-making and implementation processes. Second, we analyse links between fore- sight and innovation policy. Third, we summariseAttila Havas is at the Institute of Economics, Hungarian Acad- the insights into the actual and expected impact ofemy of Sciences, Budaorsi ut 45., H-1112 Budapest, Hungary; foresight gained from several evaluation exercises,Email:; Doris Schartinger and Matthias with a particular emphasis on policy impacts. WeWeber (corresponding author) are at the Austrian Institute ofTechnology AIT, Department of Foresight and Policy Devel- conclude with some exploratory thoughts on how theopment, Donau-City-Straße 1, A-1220 Vienna, Austria; Email: role of foresight in policy-making might evolve; the future.Research Evaluation June 2010 0958-2029/10/02091-14 US$12.00 © Beech Tree Publishing 2010 91
  2. 2. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingPolicy challenges: why to conduct foresight meantime, accountability — why to spend tax- payers’ money, on what — has become evenA number of technological, economic, societal, po- more important in democratic societies. Publiclitical and environmental trends and developments R&D and innovation expenditures are also subjectaffect all countries as well as most policy domains. to these demands.In order to deal with the challenges associated to • Policy-makers also have to deal with intensifyingthese developments, a new culture of future-oriented social concerns about new technologies. This isthinking is needed. This applies also to policy- the case, for instance, for ethical and safety con-making processes, which can be assisted by fore- cerns related to biotech or nuclear technologies,sight in various ways. Foresight stresses the possibil- and fears of unemployment and social exclusionity of different futures (or future states) to emerge, caused by the rapid diffusion of other new tech-as opposed to the assumption that there is an already nologies, e.g. information and communicationsgiven, predetermined future, and hence highlights technologies.the opportunity of shaping our futures.1 Further, it • Even the credibility of science is somewhat fad-can enhance flexibility in policy-making and imple- ing. Scientific research no longer stands for ‘true’mentation, broaden perspectives, and encourage in itself. The ‘objectiveness’ of policies based onthinking outside the box (‘think of the unthinkable’). scientific research is questioned (by citizens, in- The increasing number of foresight programmes terest groups, etc.) as scientists themselves aresuggests that foresight can be a useful policy tool in known to have different opinions and come to dif-rather different innovation systems. As a large body ferent conclusions on the same issue.of literature analyses this surge,2 the major factorsexplaining the diffusion of foresight can be summa- Beside the above trends, there are other specific,rised here in a telegraphic style: policy-relevant, methodological reasons to apply foresight. It can offer a vital input for ‘quantum• Given the significance of globalisation, sweeping leaps’ in policy-making in various domains. Usually technological and organisational changes, as well policies evolve in a piecemeal way, in incremental, as the ever-increasing importance of learning small steps, without paying sufficient attention to capabilities and application of knowledge, our fu- changes in the environment. ture cannot be predicted by any sophisticated The parable of the boiling frog illustrates this model in a sufficiently reliable way. History also point ‘vividly’: put a frog in a cooking pot with cold teaches us valuable lessons about the (im)possibi- water, and start heating the water. The frog will not lities of planning and predicting the future. There- jump out, because it is not alerted by the slowly fore, flexibility, open minds for, and awareness of, rising temperature: it boils alive. possible futures are inevitable. Diversity is crucial From time to time, however, a more fundamental in terms of possible futures, differentiating analy- rethinking of policies is needed: policy-makers oc- ses, as well as diversity in searching for solutions casionally need to ask if current policies can be con- and identifying policy options. tinued. Do they correctly realise and react to trends,• More attention is required to develop a number of and hence are they blocking or slowing down nega- skills, relapsed by Fordist mass production para- tive trends and accommodating favourable future digms and large bureaucratic machineries, such as developments? Foresight can help in picking up creativity, problem-solving, communication and weak signals: weak but very important hints that a co-operation skills in multidisciplinary, multicul- fundamental re-assessment and re-alignment of cur- tural teams. New forms of co-operation (e.g. clus- rent policies are needed. In other words, foresight ters, innovation networks) have become a key can serve as a crucial part of an early warning sys- factor in creating, diffusing and exploiting knowl- tem, and it can be used as an instrument for an adap- edge and new technologies, and therefore in satis- tive, ‘learning society’. fying social needs and achieving economic In sum, participative, transparent, forward- success. looking methods are needed when decision-makers• As for policy-making itself, there is a widening are trying to find solutions for the above challenges. gap between the speed, complexity and uncer- Foresight — as a systematic, participatory process, tainty of technological and socio-economic collecting future intelligence and building medium- changes, on the one hand, and of the ability to de- to-long-term visions, aimed at influencing present- vise appropriate policies, on the other. Under day decisions and mobilising joint actions — offers these circumstances, the precautionary principle an essential tool for this endeavour (Gavigan et al, and longer-term considerations are bound to gain 2001). It helps in making choices in an ever more a growing attention in guiding policy-making complex situation by discussing alternative options, processes. bringing together different communities with their• Given the growing political and economic complementary knowledge and experience. In doing pressures, governments try hard to balance their so, and discussing the various visions with a wide budgets, while cutting taxes. Hence, they need to range of stakeholders, it also leads to a more trans- reduce public spending relative to GDP. In the parent decision-making process, and hence provides92 Research Evaluation June 2010
  3. 3. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makinga way to obtain public support, and makes the character of the object of policy — which stronglyimplementation of policies smoother. applies in the case of innovation policy — it is now widely recognised that there is neither a clear-cut recipe for nor an overarching theory of policy- From technology foresight to integrated making (OECD, 2005). From a different angle, we policy strategies should acknowledge a fervent need for continuous adaptation and re-adjustment of policies and relatedIn the 1960s, government policies in relation to re- instruments. (Carlsson et al, 2006)search and technology had predominantly been in- More recently, it has been recognised that the ef-spired by an approach that is often labelled today as fectiveness of policy depends also on the involve-‘picking winners’: promising sectors and large play- ment of a broader range of actors than thoseers had been selected as being of particular public or formally in charge of policy decisions. The conceptstrategic interest and been thus favoured by financial of distributed policy-making and intelligenceand other types of support. With the recognition of (Kuhlmann, 2001) draws our attention to variousthe limitations of governments’ ability to actively policy practices relying extensively on the knowl-plan and shape future developments in an efficient edge, experience and competence of stakeholders.and fully informed manner, the late 1970s saw the From this network perspective, policy-making is notemergence of a new paradigm in research, tech- just about government, but also about the joint im-nology and — then also — innovation policies, which pact of public and private decision-making on soci-were characterised by a focus on shaping framework ety’s course of change and the interactions thatconditions that are conducive to innovation. This precede formal decision-making. For government‘hands off’ approach has subsequently evolved into policies to be effective, this implies a need for thewhat is nowadays called the systems approach to participation of stakeholders. Further, the role ofR&D and innovation (RTDI), which not only deals government is shifting from being a central steeringwith framework conditions, but also with the institu- entity to that of a moderator of collective decision-tional and structural settings of innovation systems making processes.(Dosi, 1988; Edquist, 1997; Freeman, 1991, 2002; With such an open and distributed model ofFagerberg et al, 2005). In line with these concepts, policy-making in mind, it is now increasingly recog-the 1990s were also characterised by a great reluc- nised that an opening of political processes is neces-tance of governments to prioritise research themes sary to ensure the robustness and the effectivenessand select technologies in a top-down manner. of its outcomes. This is also reflected in the In recent years, we can observe a shift in policy- EC’s White Paper on Governance (EC, 2001),making practices from shaping framework condi- stressing five principles of good governance: partici-tions and structural settings towards strategic pation, accountability, openness, effectiveness, anddecision-making: STI policies give again the the- coherence.matic portfolio of a country or region a greater The aforementioned shift of policy-making ap-weight and pay more attention to long-term perspec- proaches is reflected in the evolving practices oftives. However, the growing complexity of innova- foresight. Foresight processes bring together nottion processes is also recognised, by stressing the only experts, but also decision-makers from re-bottom-up component of networking and clustering search, industry, policy-making and representativesas important instruments for enhancing the innova- of the affected social groups. Thus, a shared under-tive performance in emerging areas of specialisation standing of current problems, goals and development(OECD, 2002). options can be expected to emerge among those ac- Similar to this shift in approaches to innovation tors that have an important role to play in shapingprocesses, there has been a shift in the conceptual the future. This converging understanding of theunderstanding of policy processes. Taking into ac-count insights from strategic planning and complexsocial systems thinking, recent developments in pol-icy-making processes are stressing interactions,learning, and the decentralised and networked char- Foresight processes bring together notacter of political decision-making and implementa- only experts, but also decision-makerstion (Smits, 2002; Smits and Kuhlmann, 2004).Initially, the prevailing technocratic and linear pro- from research, industry, policy-cess models of policy-making (e.g. in terms of making and representatives of the‘formulation–implementation–evaluation’ phases) affected social groups. Thus, a sharedhad been replaced by cycle models, where evalua-tions are supposed to feed back into the policy for- understanding of current problems,mulation and implementation phases. Already in goals and development options can bethese cycle models, policy-learning is seen as an expected to emergeessential ingredient of policy governance. However,in view of the complexity and the ever-changingResearch Evaluation June 2010 93
  4. 4. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingissues at play is likely to contribute to an improved • Policy advisory function (strategic policy counsel-coherence of the distributed decisions of these ac- ling), supporting the definition of policies bytors, in line with the shared mental framework de- merging the insights generated in the foresightveloped jointly during a foresight process. In other process with perceptions of the strategic position-words, the future is being shaped by aligning expec- ing and options of individual actors in the policy-tations and thus ‘creating’ a self-fulfilling prophecy. making context and transmit them into new policyThese so-called process outputs are often regarded concepts. In other words, beyond providing in-as more important than the actual substantive (or formation, policy advisory work aims at interpret-tangible) outputs like reports, list of priorities and ing these pieces of information against therecommendations.3 background of the strategies of individual policy- Most recently, we can observe an increasing in- making entities, and at translating them into newterest in foresight activities that aim at supporting policies.strategy formation both at collective level and at the • Policy-facilitating relates to the function of alevel of individual organisations, for example, foresight exercise as a systemic instrument (Smits‘adaptive foresight’ (Eriksson and Weber, 2008), or and Kuhlmann, 2004), that is, an instrument that‘sustainability foresight’ (Truffer et al, 2008). This complements traditional steering approaches. Col-interest is fuelled by the recognition that there is a lective learning processes take place through the‘translation problem’ apparent in foresight ap- provision of learning interfaces, by stimulatingproaches that predominantly rely on broad participa- the development of common visions and by sup-tory processes, namely the translation of shared porting the establishment of a specific infrastruc-collective problem perceptions and visions into ac- ture of distributed intelligence. Hence, foresighttual decisions of individual actors and organisations. may facilitate policy implementation in increasingFrom this perspective, foresight can be interpreted as the responsiveness of the system to certain poli-an integral element of networked and distributed cies (Da Costa et al, 2008: 373), current dynamicspolicy-making by providing three crucial functions and future developments as well as creating new(Da Costa et al, 2008; Eriksson and Weber, 2008; networks and visions among stakeholders.Weber, 2006), which — in line with the network-type distributed model of policy-making processes Against this background, it is now possible to sum-— are provided simultaneously rather than in dis- marise the potential policy impacts of foresight, bytinct phases: drawing first of all on the three main functions of foresight in relation to policy-making processes• Policy-informing by generating codified informa- (Figure 1), second on the range of impacts that have tion and consolidated findings concerning the dy- been assigned to foresight in the corresponding lit- namics of change, future challenges and options, erature, and third on the time lag, at which an impact and transmitting these to policy-makers as inputs occurs4 (Table 1). into policy conceptualisation and design. The in- clusion of a high variety of stakeholders into the discourse, their linking among each other and the Innovation policy and foresight inducement of individual learning and interpreta- tion processes play an important role here. This Similar to foresight, innovation is a horizontal, function is an important motivation for policy- cross-cutting policy matter that affects developments makers to initiate a foresight programme. and performance in many other policy domains, Policy Policy informing facilitating function function Open participation Discourses Policy advisory Joint visions/scenarios Facilitate implementation function & realisation Mobilisation (Strategic policy Co-ordinated/joint actions counselling) Internal processes Interpretation Individual strategies Figure 1. Policy-related functions of foresight Source: adapted from Eriksson and Weber (2008)94 Research Evaluation June 2010
  5. 5. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingTable 1. A framework to classify the impacts of foresight activitiesFunction Time lag Targeted and/or unintended impactInforming Immediate • Increased recognition of a topic area • Individual learning: awareness of science, technology and innovation options among players, fostering debate • Context and views of other stakeholders become clearer • Foresight skills are developed in a wider circle • New network options through dialogues in new combinations of experts and stakeholders, shared understanding (knowledge network) Intermediate • Realisation and continuation of established common understanding Ultimate • Integrating able new actors and their views and inputs into the community that is shaping an area of concernAdvisory Immediate • Making hidden agendas and objectives explicit • Effective actions taken Intermediate • Devising recommendations and identifying options for action • Activating and supporting fast policy-learning and policy-unlearning processes • Identify hidden obstacles to the introduction of more informed, transparent, open participatory processes to governance Ultimate • Influence on (research/ policy) agendas of actors, both public and private (as revealed, for instance, in strategies and policy programmes) • Formulation and implementation of new policies • Incorporating forward-looking elements in organisations’ internal proceduresFacilitating Immediate • Initiating collective learning processes • Articulation of common visions of the future, establishing longer-term perspectives • Awareness of systemic character of change process Intermediate • Formation of action networks • Creation of follow-up activities • Development of new projects Ultimate • Adoption of foresight results in the research and teaching agenda of organisations as well as in various disciplinary matters • Increasing the coherence of policies • Cultural changes towards longer-term and systemic thinkingSource: AIT, building on Cassingena Harper and Georghiou (2005); ForSociety (2007); and PREST (2006)most notably energy, environment, transport, re- 2. The formation of policy strategies must be seen asgional development, industrial change, health, and a continuous, interactive learning process (Met-education. These policies, in turn, can have signifi- calfe and Georghiou, 1998).cant impacts on innovation processes and innovationperformance, too. This implies that the requirements From this perspective, foresight on innovation policyof these policy domains need to be taken into ac- issues can be interpreted as a systemic co-ordinationcount in innovation policy and vice-versa. The mechanism that mediates not only between policygrowing interdependence of policy areas is one of actors and different stakeholder communities, butthe motivations for stressing the need for better pol- also between different policies (and their respectiveicy co-ordination with respect to innovation-related stakeholders) affecting innovation. In other words,issues (OECD, 2005), and it has been one of the foresight activities contribute to an infrastructure ofdrivers behind the emphasis put on systemic innova- distributed intelligence that is enabling the wholetion policy instruments in order to complement clas- system to better address future challenges, and espe-sical policy instruments for fostering innovation cially also link RTDI processes more closely to(such as direct R&D subsidies) by less conventional socio-economic needs by offering a forum for ex-ones (such as regulation, public procurement as well change between RTDI demand and RTDI supplyas measures to strengthen knowledge diffusion). perspectives. It is also reckoned that foresight actorsSystemic instruments are meant to enhance the ca- develop a stronger inclination towards long-termpability of innovation systems for self-organisation. thinking and obtain relevant knowledge for their These insights also contributed over the past two internal strategic planning. As a consequence, com-decades to the emergence of a more ‘humble’ per- bining foresight with the establishment of other stra-ception of what policies can actually deliver with tegic intelligence instruments helps ensure the tightrespect to innovation: embedding of forward-thinking into processes of policy-learning.1. Policy-makers cannot be seen as perfectly in- These observations stress the potential for syner- formed social planners, but at best as mediators gies between innovation policy and foresight, but and initiators of collectively negotiated decisions; the actual effectiveness of foresight for innovation and policy depends to a significant extent on its neatResearch Evaluation June 2010 95
  6. 6. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingembedding in the innovation system and the wider thorough, well-designed foresight process can helppolicy context. Subsequently, four important dimen- in striking a balance between short- and long-termsions of this ‘contextualisation’ shall be briefly dis- issues.cussed: governance culture, policy attention, socio-economic dynamics, and resource availability. Policy attention Governance culture Still, the governance culture alone does not explain major differences in the effectiveness of foresight. InIn countries that already have a set of well- countries with a highly developed innovation policyelaborated innovation policies in place, these tend to culture, the importance of foresight as compared tobe underpinned by an array of strategic intelligence other instruments depends very much on its position-instruments, ranging from innovation research, ing and the support obtained from high-ranking pol-project- and programme-monitoring to impact as- icy-makers. The impacts of the first British foresightsessments and evaluations. Within this portfolio, programme were not least due to the high-level offoresight often acquires a special role to inform dis- policy attention it received, and to the close link tocussions, support strategy formation and facilitate the responsible minister’s office. In Sweden, the ex-the implementation of policies, but its influence on istence of a range of other, well-developed policyinnovation policy depends on the role and ‘weight’ support mechanisms made foresight just one instru-of the other instruments in innovation policy intelli- ment among others, and without gaining priority,gence and learning. This kind of situation is charac- foresight had much less room for impact. The inno-teristic of most Western European countries, where vation policy foresight by the City of Vienna wasmore or less differentiated governance mechanisms closely tied to a process of repositioning its STI pol-have been established to develop, monitor and re- icy, even if this close link may not have been in-orient public policies. In countries where the innova- tended right from the outset (Weber et al, 2009).tion policy culture is less developed, such as in most However, one should also note the risks involved intransition economies, in developing and/or industri- a close link with, and attention of, policy-makers.alising countries, foresight as a participatory ap- Policy attention is often closely tied to issues that areproach can be much more disruptive and visible in high on the policy agendas; a situation that may givecontributing to the co-ordination of policies and ac- rise to ‘re-interpretation’ of foresight results in ordertors, not the least due to the absence of other intelli- to make them fit political purposes rather than angence tools. open-minded discourse about future challenges and Obvious examples for such countries are most of options. The framing of a foresight programme, forthe Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, example, in terms of time horizon, objectives andnewly independent states (NIS) and a number of de- ownership, is crucial to ensure the right balance be-veloping countries. Foresight seems to have the po- tween attention and openness.tential to structure catching-up processes, to Policy attention in emerging economies means theassemble new actors, integrate them into consensus- introduction of a new decision-making culture, alongoriented dialogues and thereby effectively support with a new way of thinking, with more emphasis onpolicy-learning and ‘unlearning’ processes. More- communication, co-operation, consensus among theover, it provides the ground for setting up and ex- major stakeholders, and in the end joint commit-ploiting the potential of other intelligence tools by ments to take action and determined implementationcontributing to the shaping of an innovation and of policy recommendations.strategy culture. Foresight can also contribute to tackling another Socio-economic dynamicsgovernance challenge of emerging economies: mostof them are struggling with ‘burning’ short-term The timing of a foresight exercise is also very im-issues — such as pressures on various public ser- portant for the contribution it can make to innova-vices, for example, health care, education, pensions tion policy. In countries that are facing majorand thus severe budget deficit; imbalances in current structural changes and expecting new developmentsaccounts and foreign trade; unemployment; etc. — to emerge in the coming years, the need for orien-while faced with a compelling need for fundamental tation and forward-looking information is muchorganisational and institutional changes in their gov- more pressing than in countries that are in a com-ernance systems. Short- and long-term issues com- paratively stable economic and social developmentpete for the same resources: capabilities (intellectual phase. The transition economies in CEE countriesresources for problem-solving); attention of politi- are examples (Havas, 2003; Havas and Keenan,cians and policy-makers who decide on the alloca- 2008), as well as many industrialising countriestion of financial funds; and attention of opinion- (Johnston and Sripaipan, 2008; Popper and Medina,leaders who can set the agenda (and thus influence 2008). However, also in the so-called advanceddiscussions and decisions on the allocation of countries, characterised by apparently stable socio-funds). These intellectual and financial resources are economic structures, foresight can be highly rele-always limited, thus choices have to be made. A vant to discuss alternative futures. In the light of96 Research Evaluation June 2010
  7. 7. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingstrong pressures stemming from globalisation and The impact of foresight on policymajor social and techno-economic forces, quitefundamental structural changes are required (in Assessing the impact of foresight in the context ofterms of business practices, economic structures innovation policyand incentive mechanisms, skills development, atti-tudes, etc.), but are difficult to introduce due to The assessment of impacts of foresight must rely onstrong path-dependencies inherent in the dominant a consolidated understanding of the policy processestechno-economic regimes. it is embedded in, taking into consideration the three functions outlined above. The policy-informing Resource availability function has been highly stressed among foresight experts. However, the first attempts to grasp notClosely related to the dimension of socio-economic only the direct but also the indirect impacts of fore-dynamics, the availability of resources can re- sight exercises on government policies have beeninforce the interest in, and the impact of, foresight. made only relatively recently (Amanatidou and Guy,Economic standstill or recession tends to lead to 2008; Da Costa et al, 2008; Georghiou et al, 2008).resistance to change and makes it very difficult to The empirical basis on which to draw is thus ratherallocate resources to future-oriented activities. Yet, scarce. The analysis can only be based on theeven under such unfavourable circumstances, evaluation of four recent foresight exercises (seeshared visions can reduce uncertainty, facilitate Table 2), namely the second rounds of the UK andpriority-setting or at least the acceptance of the Swedish foresight exercises, the eFORESEE projectneed for priority-setting, and thus lead to a more in Malta, and the experience with the Hungarianeffective use and exploitation of scarce public foresight exercise (TEP), with a fifth evaluation —money. Moreover, foresight can also contribute to the one of the German Futur process — not beingfinding ways out of the recession by identifying publicly available.5new opportunities. As regards the various functions of foresight, little Foresight is costly in terms of time and money is known so far in terms of impact assessment. Whilein general, and this can be a decisive factor for the policy-informing function is generally acknowl-emerging economies, in particular. Further, ad- edged (though little hard evidence provided), thevanced countries regularly conduct foresight pro- policy-counselling and -facilitating functions are stillgrammes, and their reports, Delphi-survey results, comparatively novel concepts, and have thus not yetetc. are readily available. Yet, this should not pre- been subject to deeper investigations.vent emerging economies from conducting their own In this article, we rely on several evaluation re-foresight programme; on the contrary, it can be a ports when analysing the impacts foresight pro-very useful tool for these countries, too. Only a grammes with respect to the three main functions ofnational programme can position a country in the foresight: policy-informing, policy-counselling, andglobal context and stir dialogues on how to react to policy-facilitating. Some key issues resulting frommajor S&T, business, societal and environmental this analysis of assessment results are discussedtrends. Similarly, strengths and weaknesses of a thereafter; first from a country-specific and thengiven country would not be discussed by others’ from a cross-cutting perspective, to highlight thoseprogrammes, let alone broad socio-economic issues. contextual factors that strongly influence the likeli-Process benefits cannot be achieved without a hood of having an impact on policy (or not).national programme, either. The horizontal nature of both innovation (policy) Assessment of the policy-informing functionand foresight, and the embedding of foresight in itswider socio-economic and political context as cap- In a ‘textbook’ case, foresight programmes producetured by the above four dimensions are key aspects codified information and knowledge in the form ofto be taken into account when discussing the impact reports and recommendations, which can be imple-of foresight, and its likely future(s). mented immediately. These provide a ‘reservoir ofTable 2. International foresight activities and their evaluationsCountry Dates of foresight Date of evaluation Years in between Public R&D expenditures process report/analysis (2003, % of GDP)Hungary 1997–2001 2004 3 0.62Malta 2002–04 2005 1 0.19Sweden 2002–04 2005 1 1.02UK 2002–now 2006 0 0.68Source: AIT, public R&D expenditures from the European Innovation Scoreboard 2005 <>Research Evaluation June 2010 97
  8. 8. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingknowledge’, available for policy-makers for several and thus these results tend to shape decisions onlyyears. The contents of these reservoirs irregularly with some delay — although there are exceptionsfind their way as active inputs in the political dis- from this general tendency, such as the case ofcourse, either through personal networks or simply Technology Foresight Ireland (ICSTI, 1999). Sec-because there are conclusive findings directly avail- ond, the negotiation and bargaining processes asso-able when policies are being conceptualised (Geor- ciated with policy formation, interpretation, andghiou et al, 2004: 5). implementation also take their time and lead to a The quality of the reports produced during the decelerated perception of actual foresight impactsforesight exercise is crucial. Trust in the reports, and (PREST, 2006: 17). This holds for both the productsthus their legitimacy as foundation for policy deci- and the process benefits of foresight.sion, increases if: The situation is slightly different in those cases where foresight elements are closely linked to pol-1. High-level independent experts are involved and icy-formation processes, such as in the context of carry the exercise (e.g. in the UK); the Dutch Transition Management experiences2. The exercise is highly inclusive in terms of par- (Kemp and Rotmans, 2005), or the review of the ticipation, that is, a large number of interested and technology and innovation policy strategy of the informed people is integrated (e.g. Malta). In or- Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation der to achieve this, foresight may need to be done and Technology (BMVIT, 2006). In these cases, in parallel at different levels, with different cus- the impact on policy formation is quite immediate, tomers (Arnold et al, 2005: 33). but they require a balance between open participa-3. If reports are based on panel discussions, the tory phases and closed internal phases of strategy choice of the panel members, which consequently formation. strongly determines the outcomes of the entire foresight programme, has to be transparent. Assessment of the policy-facilitating function4. The information provided in the reports must not be perceived as party-political or partial, as this Other impacts from foresight exercises, which can clearly impairs the confidence in their quality. be subsumed under the policy-facilitating function, are the initiation of collective learning processes, theThe informing function also manifests itself in indi- formation of (action) networks or the developmentvidual learning processes induced by the foresight of new projects.exercise. These are adaptations of mind-sets through However, very little is known about how partici-a better understanding of the contexts and conducts pants of a foresight process adapt to each others’of other stakeholders in the foresight process. Indi- views and backgrounds because of the foresightvidual learning processes take place at the interface process and to what extent their awareness of inter-of various communities with different cultures, vo- linkages of systems increases (Wilhelmer et al,cabularies, processes and time-scales. To isolate the 2010). Furthermore, there is little knowledge aboutcontributions of a foresight process to individual the continuing contact of stakeholders after the endperception and interpretation is not realistic. Radical of a foresight project.adaptations of mind-sets may be reproduced, thesum of marginal realisations throughout the process In Sweden, at the individual level nearly every-are barely noticeable and not measurable (see also one enjoyed participating in TF2 and consideredDa Costa et al, 2008: 371). it a great learning experience … Personal net- works were greatly expanded, in a number of Assessment of the policy advisory function cases participants also argued that this would (strategic policy counselling) boost their careers. (Arnold et al, 2005: 30)There are obvious difficulties in assessing the policyadvisory function as the transmission of personalrealisations and conclusions derived through a fore-sight process to the conceptualisation and implemen- There are obvious difficulties intation of policies is clearly marked by frictions. assessing the policy advisory functionTherefore, the evaluation of impacts of foresightexercises on the formulation of policies is difficult. as the transmission of personalThe most obvious difficulty is the time lag between realisations and conclusions derivedthe foresight exercise and the emergence of results through a foresight process to thein the form of policy decisions. The impacts of fore-sight activities on policy-making are likely to occur conceptualisation and implementationand become visible only some time after the fore- of policies is clearly marked bysight process for several reasons. First, it often takes frictionstime to absorb new knowledge (ways of thinking,approaches and solutions to policy problems, etc.),98 Research Evaluation June 2010
  9. 9. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingThe adherence of distinct networks on the whole, Box 1. A selective overview of policy impacts in the UKformed during the foresight process, seems to de-pend to a great extent on financial support provided The second round of foresight in the UK was organised inafter the end of foresight exercise; see for example different projects, which vary considerably in their impactsthe UK case. on policy-making. This can be shown by drawing on the diversity of experiences made in the different exercises:Special features of the evaluation of recent foresight exercises • The foresight project on cognitive systems (CS) was not intended to directly exert influence on policy (other thanThe second foresight round in the UK The evalua- research policy, by offering funds for cross-disciplinarytion report of the second UK Foresight round, proposals building on the CS project) (PREST, 2006: 37).launched in 2002, has identified two major immedi- • The flood and coastal defence project was used heavily to inform the sponsoring ministry’s (Defra) long-termate effects: the increased recognition for the topic strategy on flooding. As a result, it has provided to be aarea, and new combinations of experts and stake- map for Defra to use in policy development and decision-holders brought together. Both may be attributed to making. Furthermore, HM Treasury stressed the important contributions of the project for the Spendingthe policy informing function (PREST, 2006: Review (SR) 2004, which ensured the high level of17–19). funding for flood management allocated in SR 2002 Intermediate effects have included the articulation (PREST, 2006: 43–45).of visions of the future, as well as recommendations • The project on cyber trust and crime prevention (CTCP)and options for action. These have been achieved has impacted on government policy-making in various ways: a workshop has been organised relying on thethrough the reports generated by the various projects scenarios of CTCP; the project has contributed to thesponsored by the 2002 UK foresight round and may definition of fraud and to the Cabinet Office’s Strategy forbe mentioned under the policy-informing and Information Assurance. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Innovation Group’s recent priority on cyber-advisory function. A third intermediate effect is the security presumably relies to a large part on CTCP.formation of action networks, pointing towards im- However, some interviews suggest that the policy impactspacts in terms of the policy-facilitating function. of CTCT may be limited or delayed due to factors outside CTCP e.g. the turnover of the responsible minister Ultimate effects have included influence on re- (PREST, 2006: 49–51).search agendas of both public (the UK Research • The foresight project on exploiting the electromagneticCouncils, UK government policy) and private actors spectrum (EEMS) has assessed this research field in(industry), and may be observed in particular in terms of possible commercialisation. It has exerted someterms of the policy advisory function. Impacts of the influence on the calls of the research councils and of the DTI’s technology programmes, but foresight in general isforesight exercise on the public domain are evident just one of the many inputs DTI uses to identify areas toin the stimulation of new areas of work within exist- support. Yet, the response from the community to theing programmes, rather than the formulation of calls has been below expectation, suggesting that it is an area not yet ready for commercialisation (PREST, 2006:whole new programmes. Ultimate effects are a lot 56–58).more difficult to trace in the private sector than in • The project on brain science, addiction and drugs (BSAD)the public sector for two reasons. First, the private had identified contradictions in the current policy, withsector features less prominently in the 2002 round of repercussions on possible future developments. The responsible ministry has already used the outputs.the UK foresight. Second, foresight impacts on in- H th j t l h d i 2005 thdustry do not manifest themselves in publicly acces-sible documentation. What remains is anecdotalevidence of participants from industry that foresight textual modifications or inputs in the National De-activities are perceived as successful and interesting velopment Plan (NDP), a specific reference andevents (PREST, 2006: 18–19). follow-up activities in the NDP, resulting from the foresight exercise. With respect to policy facilitat-eFORESEE in Malta The 2002–2004 foresight ing, the objectives were, first, the development ofexercise in Malta was conducted in the context of a thorough action plans, bringing to the table the mainpolitical system undergoing fast changes in the criti- visionaries and strategic planners in Malta in thecal phase of pre-accession to the European Union. form of a ‘core group’, and second, the formation ofThe assessment of the exercise revealed that the par- new public–private partnerships that would taketicularly visible impacts are related to Malta’s action on business opportunities identified via thisKnowledge Futures in ICT and Education Pilot. The exercise.main targeted output in this case was a vision of A process analysis has concluded that the objec-Malta in 2010. Furthermore, the pilot used five well- tives have been met, the main policy developmentidentified success criteria as objectives and measures being the launch of an updated RTDI Strategyof achievement. (2003–2006) and its implementing tool, the RTDI In the domain of policy-informing, the objectives programme. The foresight exercise has been instru-were to develop high-quality scenarios worthy of mental in identifying the key weaknesses in thepublication and the involvement of new actors be- national system of innovation, which, in turn, haveyond the established players in the field. Concerning been targeted by the RTDI programme (Cassingenapolicy-advisory work, the objectives were to identify Harper and Georghiou, 2005: 94–97).Research Evaluation June 2010 99
  10. 10. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-making Several major unforeseen impacts that came to the changes: establishing longer-term perspectives andfore during the implementation phase have also been introducing greater inter-disciplinarity were the ef-identified (Cassingena Harper and Georghiou, 2005: fects, which stood out in their rating of importance.99–101): Both effects may be interpreted as part of the policy- informing function, the first effect also as part of the• Activation and support of fast policy-learning and policy-facilitating function. However, the effects policy-unlearning processes. achieved in terms of the original objectives were• Engaging able new actors and integrating them in seen as quite weak, particularly influencing the re- a consensus-oriented dialogue. search directions of industry or the public sector. It• Identification of hidden obstacles to the introduc- also had an effect on the climate of thought as it in- tion of more informed, transparent, open, partici- troduced longer-term holistic thinking in a period patory processes to governance. when the country was dominated by a short-term• A shift from the original, formal set of objectives agenda (partly because of economic challenges but to the informal or societal goals, which also also as an opposition to central planning in the past) formed part of the task. The shift was made when (Georghiou et al, 2004: 4–7). it became clear that in order to achieve the origi- With respect to policy advisory work, the effects nal objectives socio-cultural goals had also to be of the Hungarian foresight on public policy are ap- addressed. parent now, but they took much longer than ex-• Increased awareness of science, technology and pected to materialise (Havas, 2003). The process innovation policy concerns among local players. behind this materialisation was a ‘slow and non- This impact was accelerated as the exercise was linear process’ (Georghiou et al, 2004: 5). In various highly inclusive and sought to engage actors at all policy domains (e.g. strategic documents by the levels (strategic players, politicians and policy- Prime Minister’s Office, transport policy, the makers as well as experts in the fields of social national health programme, environmental policy, IT and natural sciences). policy) statements, recommendations, sometimes• Increased awareness has been generated of the exact passages, reflect the exploitation of TEP re- need for consensus-building approaches in long- sults. It seems that the ‘reservoir of knowledge’ cre- term vision-setting exercises if the policies are to ated by TEP unevenly entered the policy-making prove sustainable. processes, either through personal networks or sim-• Spin-off foresight activities in various fields, as ply because there was a conclusive text available some of the panel members responded proactively when policies were being conceptualised (Georghiou to the issues under discussion and embarked on et al, 2004: 5). their own foresight activities. (e.g. FutureChild, A few more impacts can be observed since the theatre foresight, and tourism foresight). evaluation exercise was conducted. The broad vi-• Investments in foresight training in order to en- sions presented in the first National Development sure the quality of foresight processes and results. Plan (2004–2006) have relied heavily on the so-• The adoption of foresight contents in the research called macro visions published in the TEP steering and teaching agenda of the University of Malta. group report. Furthermore, the first ever STI policy strategy, approved by the government in MarchThe Technology Foresight Programme in Hungary 2007, is also making explicit reference to theseThe Hungarian Technology Foresight Programme macro visions.(TEP) proceeded from 1997 to 2001, as the first ex-perience of a full-scale national foresight activity in a The Second Technology Foresight Programme intransition economy. The steering group and the seven Sweden (TF2) In Sweden, the foresight processthematic panels assessed the current situation, out- took place in 2002 to 2004, and it was evaluated bylined different visions for the future, and devised pol- an international team in 2005. The evaluation reporticy proposals. The thematic panels analysed the key states that organisations (research organisations,aspects of the following areas: human resources; consulting agencies, and foundations) appear to behealth and life sciences; information technology, tele- the main winners and users of the results (Arnold etcommunications and the media; natural and built en- al, 2005). There is little sign of direct influence atvironments; manufacturing and business processes; the decision-making or political level (in our termi-agribusiness and the food industry; transport. Their nology: the policy advisory function). However,main concern was to identify major tools to improve there has been a considerable overlap between vari-the quality of life and enhance international competi- ous undertakings in the domain of research and in-tiveness, and thus they emphasised the significance of novation policy: TF2, the Research Bill and theboth knowledge generation and exploitation. national innovation strategy, Innovativa Sverige, TEP was evaluated by an international panel in were all devised at the same time (Arnold et al,2004 (Georghiou et al, 2004). A major tool of the 2005: 23). Interviewed civil servants have arguedevaluation was a survey which produced 62 re- that the results of TF2 had not been well marketed insponses. According to the survey respondents, the the policy-making system, and that the synthesismost important effects mainly concerned cultural report had been produced in too late a phase, that is,100 Research Evaluation June 2010
  11. 11. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingafter the ‘window of opportunity’ to influence the enhances the absorption of foresight results in theResearch Bill. Concerning the policy-informing ministries concerned, and therefore enhances thefunction, the synthesis report had been perceived to likelihood of consequent actions taken. On the otherbe party-political, which undermined its credibility hand, close political support endangers the intellec-(Arnold et al, 2005: 28). The most obvious impact of tual independence of the whole foresight process. ItTF2 has been the organisation of a series of fora for may therefore entail the risk of not taking foresightyoung people to debate the future. results seriously because they are perceived as party politics. Bearing this in mind, it follows that political Critical issues support for foresight processes should be ‘strong’ and ‘distant’ at the same time — to strike this bal-As an overall assessment of its impact, foresight is a ance is likely to be a difficult task, and certainly auseful decision-preparatory tool, as suggested by its context-specific one (Havas, 2003).widespread use across continents, as well as bytheoretical considerations. Foresight can assist deci- Ownership of results in departmentalised govern-sion-makers in tackling a number of complex chal- ment structures The more path-breaking and revo-lenges: it can reduce technological, economic or lutionary the results of the foresight process are, thesocial uncertainties by identifying various futures more likely their implementation is to interfere withand policy options; it can induce better-informed the decision-making competences of several minis-decisions by bringing together different communities tries. This seems often to be the reason why recom-of practice with their complementary knowledge and mendations derived from foresight processes lackexperience, obtain public support by improving commitment to acting upon them. In Hungary, TEPtransparency, and thus enhance overall efficiency of had produced a long list of recommendations, whichpublic spending (Havas, 2006). have been sparsely implemented (Georghiou et al, The results of the evaluation exercises conducted 2004: 4–5). In Sweden, implications of the synthesisso far also indicate that there are a number of key report have been so wide-ranging that they surpassedissues that can either significantly enhance the im- the scope of single units or even entire ministriespact on policy-making, or hamper foresight from (Arnold et al, 2005: 28).being influential. In general, departmentalised government struc- tures tend to impair political action in complexEnrolment of able new actors and formation of actor issues (health, quality of life, environment, competi-networks The added-value of foresight increases tiveness, etc.). As foresight processes are mostlywhen it is possible to overcome traditional sectoral launched to tackle such complex issues, the subse-or disciplinary barriers and to succeed in engaging quent implementation of the results is often outsideable new actors beyond the established and well- anyone’s decision-making competence, and there-known players in the field. This forges novel link- fore doomed to fail. Hence, already the design of aages within the innovation system and increases the foresight process should provide for an effective co-recognition of the foresight topic area among the ordination of public resources — both intellectualvarious players. The importance of these network- and financial — in order to achieve the comprehen-building effects, in particular as compared to the sive use of the foresight results (Havas, 2003).tangible results, has been confirmed by participantsof many foresight processes. Time horizon A time horizon slightly beyond the concerns of even strategic policy decisions allowsInterested customers with absorptive capacities A more ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and creativity in ex-key problem experienced in several cases has been ploring various future states and their implications.the linkage between a particular foresight process There is obviously a trade-off between creative,and its clients. Interested customers with absorptive long-term thinking and the likelihood of having ancapacity are a precondition, if foresight is to affect immediate impact on decision-making. There is anpolicy. In the UK, the responsible minister was per- innate tension, therefore, between the long-termsonally involved, which provided a focus and a clear nature of foresight issues and the substantiallyindication of priority and importance of the exercise, shorter time horizon of politicians.and quite likely this factor increased the time de-voted by civil servants to the absorption of the re- The congruence of actors in foresight and politicalsults (PREST, 2006: 19). In Sweden, however, advice The actors, individuals and groups, whoforesight results seemed to have difficulty in com- inform and advise ministries, are often the same whopeting with the abundance of other reports, as civil take the lead in foresight processes. This makes itservants do not have the resources to work them- especially hard to assess the impacts of foresightselves through piles of (seemingly similar) docu- activities, even if political programmes and resolu-ments (Arnold et al, 2005). tions obviously reflect foresight results. In the ex- treme, this leads to the conclusion of the US OfficeThe dilemma of political support On the one hand, of Science and Technology about the UK foresightclose attention and support from some key politicians activities that ‘in the absence of Foresight, some orResearch Evaluation June 2010 101
  12. 12. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingall of the successful outcomes might very well have phase. Being of an exploratory nature, it serves thetranspired in part or at a later date’ (Keenan, 2000). purpose of thinking ahead in order to be prepared forThis argument presupposes that the ideas expressed the unexpected or unusual developments. Participa-in the foresight exercises ‘have been around’ any- tion would be restricted to experts, but from a wideway. Yet, there is a difference between ideas of range of domains. As these projects are not partici-visionary individuals that somehow find their way patory in their nature, they should be called prospec-into opinion-forming or decision-making processes tive analyses, rather than foresight, stricto sensu.and the development of a vision in a foresight exer- As for contextualisation, this model is based oncise, a vision that has been created jointly and that is the conviction that policy-making processes shouldshared by a broader constituency. This difference be clearly separated from foresight activities, in re-has major implications concerning the ownership of sponse to the criticism that foresight undermines theresults, and thus with respect to the likelihood, effi- formal, constitutional channels of decision-making.ciency and efficacy of implementation. Among other indications, the latest generation of the British foresight seems to lend itself to a stronger emphasis on the policy-informing function, putting a Future directions of foresight strong emphasis on the role of specialised expertise.Foresight should not be conducted for its own sake Foresight as an integral part of policy processesor just because it is currently ‘fashionable’ through-out the world and being promoted by international In this model, foresight becomes an integral part oforganisations. It is crucial to prove the impact of the policy-making process, fulfilling key roles withforesight on decision-making. This impact is de- respect to informing, counselling and facilitating. Itpendent on the relevance to major issues faced by is driven by the need for forward-looking, strategicsociety, but also its timing and the quality of its support in policy-making processes and the need for‘products’ — reports and recommendations — are better co-ordination of distributed policy-making,crucial. Only substantive, carefully formulated pro- with foresight playing a major role in both respects.posals can grab the attention of opinion-leaders and This is a model likely to emerge in those countriesdecision-makers and are thus likely to be imple- that already have a highly differentiated system ofmented. Otherwise all the time and effort that par- policy intelligence in place. Foresight could play aticipants put into a foresight programme would be very prominent and visible role in such a context, forwasted, together with the public money spent to example, by integrating different inputs into policycover organisation and publication costs. The pro formation, but longer-term, foresight-type ap-cess results, in terms of new and intensified net- proaches could equally turn into a standard elementworking, communication and enhanced cooperation of reflexivity in decision-making processes, inamong participants, may still be significant even in permanent competition with other tools of policythis sad case, but they are less visible and more dif- intelligence.ficult to measure, and may not be sufficient to en- This variant would imply that foresight not only issure the continuation of a programme. applied in individual policy areas and at individual In this article, recent insights into the impacts of policy levels (‘operational foresight’), but also fulfilsforesight processes as well as key contextual factors a cross-cutting, policy co-ordinating or at leastand determinants of impacts have been analysed policy-orientating function (‘meta-level foresight’),against the background of a process model of em- very much in line with the cross-cutting role of in-bedding foresight into policy-making processes. novation policy. It is also compatible with a wide-These findings shall now serve as the starting point spread involvement in, and use of, foresight by otherfor exploring how foresight might evolve in the actors in economy and society (‘distributed fore-future, and the impacts it is likely to have on policy- sight’). And finally, this interpretation of foresightmaking. would imply its widespread use in internal processes In the light of the arguments raised in this article, of strategy formation of individual organisations infour different directions for the future of foresight parallel with open participatory processes.can be outlined. These are not mutually exclusivescenarios, but rather complementary perspectives Foresight as a pacemaker for building up reflexivityon how foresight might be used, each of them stress-ing different types of impact, depending on the con- In this model, foresight acquires the role of a pace-textual factors that characterise these particular maker for building up reflexivity in the policy-perspectives. making system. As a first initiative of policy intelli- gence, it can serve several purposes simultaneously, Foresight as a sophisticated policy informing tool ranging from raising awareness and providing orien- tation to capacity-building for policy intelligence. ItThis variant reflects a comparatively conservative can thus serve as a precursor for the establishment offuture of foresight, where foresight will be mainly other mechanisms, organisations and instrumentsrestricted to underpinning the policy-informing needed to support reflexive policy-making. The102 Research Evaluation June 2010
  13. 13. Impact of foresight on innovation policy-makingparticipatory element of foresight is of high rele- 4. See the study on methods and dimensions of impact assess- ment by Rhomberg et al (2006) and in particular the self-vance in this respect. evaluation tool for foresight developed by the ForSociety ERA- This model seems to be particularly suited for Net (ForSociety, 2007).emerging economies or, more generally speaking, 5. An evaluation of the German Futur process has been con- ducted, but not published. A short account can be found infor countries that are facing fundamental changes Cuhls and Georghiou (2004).and where a differentiated system and culture of in-novation policy intelligence has not yet been estab-lished. In fact, foresight could be particularly Referencesinteresting as a tool to pave the way for building upa sophisticated system of policy intelligence around Arnold, E, S Faugert, A Eriksson and V Charlet 2005. From Fore- sight to Consensus? An Evaluation of the Second Round ofthose issues that are perceived as crucial for a Swedish Technology Foresight. Research Report. Brighton:country’s future development path, that is, industrial Technopolis.development policy in view of catching up, or en- Amanatidou, E and K Guy 2008. Interpreting foresight process impacts: steps towards the development of a framework con-hancing growth and innovation on the way towards a ceptualising the dynamics of foresight systems. Technologicalknowledge-intensive economy, etc. Forecasting and Social Change, 75, 539–557. BMVIT 2006. Forschung, Technologie und Innovation für Wohlstand in gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung. Strategische Foresight as a tool for impact assessment Leitlinien [Technology and Innovation for Wealth Creation and Societal Responsibility. Strategic Guidelines]. Report to theIn line with more technocratic approaches for deal- Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Tech- nology BMVIT. with decision options, very much driven by the Carlsson, B, L Elg and S Jacobsson 2006. Reflections on thecurrent hype of (ex-ante) impact assessment, espe- co-evolution of innovation theory, policy and practice: thecially in the European Union context, foresight emergence of the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems. Paper presented at the 40th Anniversary Conference ofcould turn into an instrument for making impact as- SPRU, ‘The Future of Science, Technology and Innovationsessments more realistic in the sense of accepting Policy: Linking Research and Practice’. Brighton, 11–13the inherent openness of the future and by stressing September 2006. Cassingena Harper, J and L Georghiou 2005. The targeted andthe qualitative nature of future changes and impacts. unforeseen impacts on innovation policy: the eFORESEE This may not be the preferred model for foresight Malta case study. International Journal of Foresight and Inno-experts, but it is built on the assumption that the vation Policy, 2(1), 84–103. Cuhls, K and L Georghiou 2004. Evaluating a participative fore-technocratic assessment culture that currently per- sight process: ‘Futur – the German research dialogue’,meates public administration turns into the dominant Research Evaluation, 13(3), December, 143–153.mode of decision-making and decision support. Key Da Costa, O, P Warnke, F Scapolo and C Cagnin 2008. The im- pact of foresight on policy making: insights from the FOR-elements of foresight as it is understood today could LEARN mutual learning process. Technology Analysis andstill play a significant role in such a context, but the Strategic Management, 20(3), 369–387.participatory and qualitative notions associated with Dosi, G 1988. The nature of the innovative process. In Technical Change and Economic Theory, eds G Dosi, C Freeman, R Rforesight would probably have to be complemented Nelson, G Silverberg and L Soete, pp. 221–238. London:by other quantitative methods (e.g. real options Pinter.methods in the context of scenario development) that EC 2001. European Governance: A White Paper. Brussels: Euro- pean Commission.are more compatible with the prevailing policy as- Edquist, C ed. 1997. Systems of Innovations: Technologies, Insti-sessment mode. tutions and Organizations. London: Pinter. Eriksson, A and M Weber 2008. Adaptive foresight: navigating the complex landscape of policy strategies. Technological Fore-These four future directions of foresight are not mu- casting and Social Change, 75(4), 462–482.tually exclusive, and the actual mix of foresight ele- Fagerberg, J, D C Mowery and R R Nelson eds 2005. The Oxfordments used as part of policy intelligence will depend Handbook of Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ForSociety 2007. A Web-based Self-Evaluation Tool for Foresighton the respective context, in which foresight shall be Practioners. Available at:, lastused. Hence, they are meant as ‘food for thought’ accessed 26 May 2010.regarding not only foresight as such, but also the Freeman, C 1991. Networks of innovators, a synthesis of re- search issues. Research Policy, 20(5), 499–514.context in which foresight is applied. Freeman, C 2002. Continental, national, and sub-national innova- tion systems – complementarity and economic growth. Research Policy, 31(2), 191–211. Gavigan, J P, F Scapolo, M Keenan, I Miles, F Farhi, D Lecoq, MNotes Capriati, and T di Bartolomeo 2001. FOREN Guide – Foresight for Regional Development Network–- A Practical Guide to Re-1. It had been the slogan of the first UK TF Programme. gional Foresight. Foresight for Regional Development Net-2. Given the size of this literature, only a few examples can be work. Available at: <>, last accessed 26 May mentioned here: Georghiou et al. (2008); OECD (1996); spe- 2010. cial issues of Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Georghiou, L, H Acheson, J Cassingena Harper, G Clar and K 60 (1999); Journal of Forecasting, 22(2–3) (2003); Inter- Klusacek 2004. Evaluation of the Hungarian Technology Fore- national Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, 1(3–4) sight Programme (TEP). Report of an international panel. (2004). The reader is also kindly referred to various reports Available at: < posted at the EU foresight website: < articleID=3826&ctag=articlelist&iid=1>, last accessed 26 May foresight//home.html>. 2010.3. Obviously, there are also certain types of foresight exercises Georghiou, L, J Cassingena Harper, M Keenan and I Miles eds that have a less pro-active intention by concentrating on the 2008. The Handbook of Technology Foresight: Concepts and identification of future challenges and issues only, rather than Practice. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. aiming at solutions. Havas, A 2003. Evolving foresight in a small transition economy:Research Evaluation June 2010 103
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