Empowering Futures Through Responsive Foresight

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch oder TagungsbandVortrag mit Beitrag in TagungsbandBegutachtung


Ever since EFFLA’s (European Forum on Forward Looking Activities) call for a better embedding of foresight
in the policy making cycle, in particular the early sense-making phase, a more widespread and more systematic
use of forward-looking intelligence to support the preparation of policy decisions at the EU and in some
countries at the state level have been developed. For example, Foresight has been used in the preparation and
implementation of Horizon 2020 work programmes and strategic programmes, the development of the third
strategic programme of Horizon 2020, for instance, was informed by a dedicated strategic foresight study. The
inclusion of foresight in the Better Regulation Toolbox (which complements the Better Regulation Guidelines)
provides further evidence of the growing significance of foresight in the context of policy making, from
informing policy and facilitating policy implementation to embedding participation in policy-making and
supporting policy definition. Overall, we argue that foresight has become increasingly embedded in the policy
process over the past years and now represents an important building block in the family of policy support
tools used by the European institutions and national and regional level in many countries.
Most of these recent foresight-related activities are geared towards underpinning the preparation and
implementation of longer-term initiatives and strategic programming of R&I (“strategic foresight”).
Complementary to this, however, there is a growing need for providing forward-looking analysis and decision
options in response to unexpected developments, emerging risks and crisis situations.
Experiences of the past decades have underlined the importance of being able to provide possible answers to
such unexpected developments, as evidenced by the slow responses to recent crises such as the COVID-19
health crisis, the Western failure in Afghanistan, the migration crisis, and earlier in this century the Arab
Spring, the financial crisis, the outbreak of the Ebola virus. In such a context, foresight is increasingly
recognized as a powerful approach to anticipate the unexpected by questioning deeply ingrained, mainstream
beliefs. As a consequence, our new approach is to endow Foresight with rapid response mechanisms and the
necessary intelligence to respond quickly to such unexpected developments. The new tool aims at fulfilling
functions that are complementary to strategic foresight, such as
To raise and anticipate awareness of disruptive events and technologies and their relevance to the broader
socio-economic dynamics of our societies;
To stimulate individuals, networks and organisations to explore novel terrain and trigger “out-of-the-box”
vision-building and novel strategic thinking;
To support preparedness and adaptability of longer-term policy initiatives from a forward-looking perspective.
The new approach draws especially on the complex of ‘Foresight on Demand’ projects, commissioned by DG
Research, EC, to a consortium of foresight practitioners between 2019 and 2023. The projects were designed
for application in many policy areas, including the traditional R&I field but also in more societal areas such as
education, health, migration, housing, smart aging, and in areas with a strong technical focus such as energy,
mobility, IT, AI, etc.
Untertitel Long-term Governance, Democracy and Futures Research
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 14 Juni 2023
Veranstaltung23rd Futures Conference: EMPOWERING FUTURES - Long-Term Governance, Democracy and Futures Research - Turku, Finnland
Dauer: 14 Juni 202316 Juni 2023


Konferenz23rd Futures Conference

Research Field

  • Societal Futures


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