Helsinki University of Technology Systems Analysis Laboratory. Ahti Salo. P.O. Box 1100, FIN TKK Finland

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1 Developing the Foresight Knowledge Base Ahti Salo Helsinki University of Technology P.O. Box 1100, FIN TKK Finland Brainstorming Workshop

2 Foresight Challenges at the European Level Identification of topics Only some topics of sufficient relevance to all Member States Not all the policy and other responses enacted at the European level Involvement of stakeholders Extensive participation would imply a very high number of stakeholders Could be perceived as elitist if the number of stakeholders is limited Travel costs may become prohibitive (eg, number of workshops) Opportunity costs need to be accounted for, too Linkages to policy processes Sponsoring client may not be readily identified Processes more complex and intransparent than at the national level

3 Limitations of Benchmarking Is not very helpful in moving beyond best practice May lead to undue repetition of tested approaches This can impede the development of new innovative approaches Supranational exercises for benchmarking not readily available May not address essential determinants Success or failure depends on political and organizational considerations These are context-dependent and not readily captured in methodologically oriented accounts Limits the choice of topics Topics that are more meaningfully addressed at the European level are likely to receive less emphasis in national foresight exercises

4 Creation of Learning Cycles (1/2) Sensing Recognition of the need for foresight and the shaping of its objectives Planning Benchmarks with other foresight exercises common at the outset Executing The most visible part of the foresight process Easier to report What went on? rather than Why? or To what effect? Evaluating Activities not consistently evaluated w.r.t. objectives or impacts Evaluation reports not always necessarily broadly distributed Reflecting Key observations on some exercises reported in the scientific literature

5 Creation of Learning Cycles (2/2) Sensing Planning Teknisesti Executing mahdollinen Evaluating Reflecting & reporting

6 Multiplicity of Foresight Objectives Improved systems understanding Elaboration of relevant trends and events Recognition of framework conditions (exogenous endogenous) Enhanced networking Establishing new contacts or deepening earlier ones Access to knowledge with the help of other network members Support for the identification of collaboration partners Strengthened innovation activities Determination of RTD priorities and shaping of other policy measures Preparation of innovation activities Objectives may differ but they need to be explicated!

7 Avoiding the Lock Lock-Ins in Foresight Recognise foresight drivers Development of ERA Internationalisation of RTD Span different modes of foresight activity A range of context-dependent objectives and approaches possible» understanding vs. networking vs. priority-setting» explicit vs. emergent vs. embedded foresight Further work needed» links to innovation studies Develop new methodologies Much of the methodological literature stems from the 1950 s and 1960 s ICTs and the Internet offer exciting opportunities Large-scale European foresight would call for distributed collaborative work

8 Insights from the Wireless World Research Forum Source: J.-P. Salmenkaita and A. Salo (2004). Emergent Foresight Processes: Industrial Activities in Wireless Communications, Technological Forecasting & Social Change 71/9 (2004)

9 Distributed Collaborative Work Internet-enabled consultation processes Fom survey questionnaires towards interactive learning environments» collaborative shaping and assessment of topics» elaboration of multiple perspectives» numerous application areas (cf. ESF-funded Towards Electronic Democracy)» interactive examination of results (cf. voting machines) Software support tools exist (eg Opinions Online ) but motivating incentives and clear communication are vital

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11 Beyond Priority Formation Formation of priorities External communities Programme management Anticipation of S&T trends and socioeconomic needs Weighing outline of allocative structure Shaping identification of priority topics Specification of Call for Proposals Implementation of priorities Selection of projects Research community Solicititation of proposals for promising research topics Development of project proposals Execution of research activities

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13 Portfolio Analyses for Priority Setting Robust portfolio modeling Admit incomplete information (criteria preferences, topic assessments) Explicate different viewpoints Filter interesting ideas & topics May bring considerable quality and efficiency improvements See Deliberative screening 223 projects» 127 core projects» 32 exterior projects» 64 projects in the negotiation zone

14 Generation and screening to topics Impacts Level of uncertainty Resource expenditure Research idea Basic research Technology dev t Product dev t Manu -facturing Customer use Time

15 Methodological Opportunities Analyses for fostering collaborative networks Multi-criteria & multi-stakeholder assessment of topics» traceability makes it possible to identify sources of interesting topics» shortlists of potential contributors to selected themes can be generated» provides growth platforms for the realisation of projects Methdological support for the self-organisation of research community Group support systems Well-established methodologies and tools» GroupSystem V, GroupExplorer, VISA, MindMap etc. Considerable content and process improvements for collaborative work» mitigate the risk of groupthink phenomenon Numerous applications» strategic planning, risk management, environmental policy analysis

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18 Final Thoughts (1/2) Foster interlinkages to related disciplines Participatory methods, small group research, cognitive sciences Decision and policy analysis, technology management, innovation studies Forecasting, system dynamics, econometric modelling Cross-fertilisation is vital the credibility of foresight depends on this! Integrate methodological and applied work Respond to foresight objectives with innovative methods and approaches Employ these in connection with foresight exercises Promote the foresight community in research Key means to the creation of reflective learning cycles (refereed articles) Train qualified analysts and facilitators for foresight activities (often PhD s) Reputation of foresight hinges on its intellectual and practical achievements

19 Final Thoughts (2/2) Research needs Questions why and to what effect need to be addressed ( before/after ) Enable innovation through conceptual, empirical, methodological research State of the knowledge base Well-established evolving set of core concepts, methodologies, processes Reputation of futures studies at times in doubt due to excessive claims Handbooks and toolboxes Useful for dissemination but not necessarily for advancing the state-of-art May foster lock-ins in tested approaches or even false confidence in these Fundamental research issues Establish foresight as an intellectually stimulating scientific discipline and influential practice in support of decision making! Cf. EU-US Scientific Seminar on Technological Futures Analysis 04

20 Selected Publications (2002 ) Gustafsson, J., Salo, A. (forthcoming): Contingent Portfolio Programming for the Management of Risky Projects, Operations Research. Liesiö, J., Mild, P., Salo, A. (2005): Preference Programming for Robust Portfolio Modeling and Project Selection, submitted manuscript, January Salmenkaita, J.-P, Salo, A. (2002): Rationales for Government Intervention in the Commercialization of New Technologies, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 14/2, Salmenkaita, J.-P., Salo, A. (2004): Emergent Foresight Processes: Industrial Activities in Wireless Comminications, Technological Forecasting and Social Change 71/9, Salo, A., Cuhls, K. (2003): Technology Foresight - Past and Future, Journal of Forecasting 22/2-3, Salo, A., Gustafsson, R., Kaakkolammi, I., Gustafsson, T. (2004): Participatory Development of Future-Oriented Policy Configurations for Climate Change and Mobile Gaming, Proceedings of the EU-US Seminar: New Technology Foresight, Forecasting & Assessment Methods, Sevilla, May Salo, A., Gustafsson, T. (2004): A Group Support System for Foresight Processes, International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy 1/3-4, Salo, A., Gustafsson,T., Ramanathan R. (2002): Multicriteria Support for Foresight Processes. Journal of Forecasting 22/2-3, Salo, A., Gustafsson, T., Mild, P. (2004): Prospective Evaluation of a Cluster Program for Finnish Forestry and Forest Industries, International Transactions on Operations Research 11/2, Salo, A., Käkölä, T. (forthcoming): Groupware Support for Requirements Management in New Product Development, Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce. Salo, A., Könnölä, T., Hjelt, M. (2004): Responsiveness in Foresight Management: Reflections from the Finnish Food and Drink Industry, International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy 1/1-2, Salo, A., Liesiö, J. (2004): A Case Study in Participatory Priority-Setting for a Scandinavian Research Programme, submitted manuscript, February 2004 (see "Publications ). Salo, A., Salmenkaita, J.-P. (2002): Embedded Foresight in RTD programs, International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management 2/2,

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