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Based on the ideas of systems thinking, the Systemic Foresight Methodology (SFM) proposes a framework for designing and implementing Foresight activities. This framework recognises the complexities that emerge due to multifaceted interplays between the Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, Political and Value (STEEPV) systems. To conducting Foresight systemically, we need to undertake a set of ‘systemic’ thought experiments, in which systems (e.g. human and social systems, industrial/sectoral systems, and innovation systems) are understood and modelled, and hopefully intervened in, for a successful change programme. These experiments are conducted in a series of iterative phases that we label (1) Intelligence (scoping, surveying and scanning phase) (2) Imagination (creative and diverging phase), (3) Integration (ordering and converging phase), (4) Interpretation (strategy phase), (5) Intervention (action phase), and (6) Impact (evaluation phase); (7) an Interaction phase (participation) goes on throughout the activity. The paper describes each of the phases and proposes a set of quantitative and qualitative methods, which can be combined to form research, policy, technology, and innovation paths. The ideas discussed in the light of two Systemic Foresight cases, dealing with Higher Education and Renewable Energy sectors. SFM was used to provide a methodological orientation for these the Foresight exercises, where a variety of methods were selected and combined in line with the objectives of and available resources for the Foresight exercises.
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Chapter 6
Systemic Foresight Methodology
Ozcan Saritas
6.1 Introduction
As an unavoidable human trait of thinking about the future, foresight has been
practiced since the existence of the first human being on earth. The use of individual
foresight in a collective and participative way, however, is a rather new phenome-
non, which led to today‘s formal, institutionalized Foresight. More recently Fore-
sight has been a widely acclaimed activity associated with policy making by
government, industry and other organisations to shape the society’s future. As the
complexity of societies has increased, the scope of Foresight activities has widened
to cover a wide variet y of issues. This has been mainly due to the increasing
importance of technological and organisational innovation; the development of
service economies; and other developments such as rapid globalisation, and chang-
ing nature of dem ographical structures, cultural practices, environmental affairs
and social services.
Foresight practice has evolved in time to address the expectations of various
stakeholders and challenges of their times. For instance, the Foresight practice in
the 50s and 60s was mainly characterised by the forecasting of the future
technologies mainly for defence purposes as required by the conditions of the
cold war in the post-WW2 period. The nature of the situations has changed in
time and so as the Fores ight practice. This paper mainly considers the complexities
O. Saritas (*)
Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR), University of Manchester, Oxford Road
M13 9PL, Manchester, UK
Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University -
Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow, Russia
This work was supported by the Higher School of Economics, Programme of Basic Research
D. Meissner et al. (eds.), Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for the Future,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-31827-6_6,
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013
and uncertainties of the current world and discusses how Foresight practice can be
more responsive to tackle with today’s more ‘systemic’ situations involved in
human and social systems, which are ‘open’ in nature and require more customised
methodological approaches. This paper introduces the Systemic Foresight Method-
ology (SFM) as a way to cope with the complexities of the human and social
systems and to develop a more tailored Foresight methodology with the integration
of qualitative and quantitative Foresight tools in line the nature of situations. The
need for systems thinking and adapting Foresight into its context have been
highlighted (see Aaltonen and Sanders 2006; Salo et al. 2004; Forlearn
). Besides
acknowledging these necessities with systems theory and practical evidence, the
SFM sets out to create systemic concepts and methodo logical frameworks that are
useable for future-oriented idea creation in complex human and social systems. It
considers the Foresight activity as a ‘systemic inquiry’ where the actual design of
the system can only be partially specified in advance of system operation. This is
because, when human and social systems are dealt with, the most thoughtful and
carefully designed systems may have unintended consequences. System behaviour
and informal structure emerge only through system operation regardless of the
detail or diligence in design efforts prior to system deployment. The over-
specification of a system ’s requirements (i) wastes limited resources, (ii) reduces
system autonomy, which means the agility and flexibility of the system to respond
to environmental shifts are reduced, and (iii) fails to permit subsystem elements to
self-organise based on their contextual knowledge, understanding and proximity to
the operating environment.
The SFM sees the design of an institutional Foresight activity as a creative process
that will be engaged in designing a future system to fulfil goals and expectations.
Therefore, the SFM specifies only the minimal requirements necessary to achieve the
systems objectives. Thus, the SFM suggests a learning system, which structures
a systems-based debate to formulate the basic processes of (1) Intelligence (scoping,
surveying and scanning phase) (2) Imagination (creative and diverging phase),
(3) Integration (ordering and converging phase), (4) Interpretation (strategy phase),
(5) Intervention (action phase), (6) Impact (evaluation phase), and (7) Interaction
(interactive and participative phase) which continues throughout activity.
The phases explain how systems such as human and social systems, industrial and
sectoral systems, and innovation systems are understood, approached and intervened
for a successful change process. They follow each other iteratively and can be repeated
as many times until the practitioners believe that their complete function has been
fulfilled. The aim is to guide practitioners to set their agendas for the different phases
of the Foresight activity and to give direction to their thinking processes in order to
(i) design a Foresight methodology, which fits well with the context and content of the
exercise, and thus (ii) to decision making involved in thinking about the future and
connecting the future with the present policies and actions.
While giving a process orientation for the design and implementation of Fore-
sight exercises with these phases, three strands of Foresight (Miles and Keenan
2002) with three further additions are introduced, including: (i) Futures strand
Forlearn Online Foresight Guide (
84 O. Saritas
(‘when’); (ii) Capacity building strand (‘who’); (iii) Strategic planning strand
(‘how’); (iv) Worldviews/goals strand (‘why’); (v) Institutions/structures strand
(‘what’); and (vi) Theme strand (‘which’). The six strands aim to provide an agenda
for each phase of the Foresight activit y.
The combination of the phases and strands constitute the conceptual framework
of the SFM, which will be introduced following a brief overview of institutional
Foresight as a systematic activity and the evolution of practice in time. The purpose
is to demonstrate how the situations in the world have changed and how Foresight
practice was adapted to address the expectations and challenges of different
decades starting from the 50s. The key requirements for Foresight in the 2010s
are characterised by uncertainty and complexity in the STEEPV systems with an
increasing need for systemic thinking. Highl ighting the need for more holistic and
systemic thinking due to increasing interrelationships and interdependencies in
complex systems, the paper discusses the underlying concepts of systems thinking,
which will constitute the basis for the development of the SFM. The paper then will
continue with the description of the SFM framework and its phases. Two case
studies will be described, where the SFM was used first to give a process orientation
to Foresight activities in Higher Education Institutions and then for the selection
and combination of methods in a Renewable Energy exercise. The paper concludes
that the SFM is a potentially useful conceptual framework when designing a
Foresight exercise in complex and uncertain social and human systems.
6.2 Foresight: The Evolution of Practice
As practiced institutional Foresight is an outgrowth of a long and historic tradition
of ‘foresight’. Stemming from the unavoidable human trait of thinking about the
future (Loveridge 2009) as a concept, and from planning and forecasting as a
structured activity, institutional Foresight essentially implies some form of ‘partic-
ipative vision-based planning process’. First formal Foresight efforts existed from
the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries when Foresight was used to improve deci sion
making and public debate, and to anticipate long-term trends and long-term
implications of short-term decisions. Wide array of issues were covered by those
efforts, particularly after the Industrial Revolution which caused major
transformations in science, technology and society and thus increased the concerns
for the future. In the nineteenth century, efforts have been made to think about the
future of capitalist economies. These efforts were mainly initiated by classical
political economists. In the early 1900s, the principles of trend extrapolation and
social indicators were established. First systematic methods of expert analysis (i.e.
Delphi and Cross impact) were established around the mid-twentieth century. First
computer simulation studies were well known around the same time.
During the 1950s and 1960s, which mark the post-WW2 period, Foresight was
narrowed down to anticipate new technology areas. These efforts were mainly
called ‘forecasting’ to explain that they were concerned with the ‘probabilistic
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 85
assessment of what is likely to happen in the future’. Applications were seen in
military and large corporations with the main focus areas on science and engineer-
ing. The work was carried out with the participation of a limited group of experts
and futurologists. Creative and consultative methods like Delphi, scenarios, brain-
storming and expert panels were extensively used. The work undertaken by the US
Department of Defence, the US Navy and field surve ys such as on astronomy and
life sciences can be given as examples.
A change in the understanding of forecasting was witnessed in the early 1970s
due to major crises such as the unexpected oil-shocks. Such unpredictable events
caused doubts on the reliability of forecasting. Around the same time, Meadows
et al.’s (1972) famous book Limits to Growth depicted the complexity and
uncertainty of the world systems. Consequently, towards the end of the decade
forecasting tended to be les s deterministic due to a common understanding of ‘the
future is simply not the extension of the past. The underlying assumptions of
forecasting changed that discontinuities existed. During the 1970s, efforts were
made in Japan to forecast the future of Science and Technology (S&T). Conducted
with the aim of informing national S&T policy, Japanese national forecasting
activities incorporated economic and social needs as well as the S&T advances.
The Foresight activities in the 1980s can be characterised by the consideration of
‘multiple futures’ to express a wider frame of uncertainties involved in the world
and society. During this time institutional Foresight was widely acclaimed by
national governments as an activity associated with the identification of priorities
and development of long-term S&T policies. Activities carried out in France (e.g.
National Colloquium on Research & Technology) and in the Netherlands (e.g. the
Foresight exercises initiat ed by Ministry of Education and Science) can be given as
examples (see Papon 1988; van Dijk 1991).
During the 1990s, exercises have been lengthily organised and carried out by
government advisory boards, research councils, national academies of sciences,
other governmental departments, industrial associations and in firms. Large scale
national Foresight programmes were conducted in Germany, France and the UK,
which then inspired a number of other countries in Europe and around the world to
start their own programmes. S&T was the central focus of those activities.
Developments in S&T were seen in relation to economic and social developments.
This type of Foresight exercise is defined as: 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
As the complexity of societies has increased, the scope and focus of Foresight
activities have widened to cover a wide variety of issues in the 2000s. Reflecting its
broad focus and application areas, the recent definitions of Foresight in the 2000s
emphasised more on the process of Foresight than its scope or coverage (i.e. the use
of science and technology to achieve economic benefits): Foresight is the applica-
tion of ‘systematic,’ ‘participatory,’ ‘future-intelligence-gathering and medium-to-
86 O. Saritas
long-term vision building process’ to ‘informing present-day decisions and
mobilising joint actions’ (Miles and Keenan 2002).
What is next? Foresight shapes the world through policy, but it is also shaped by
the wider contexts and developments in these contexts. Transformations in today’s
society is ongoing at a higher speed due to the factors like the increasing importance
of technological, organisational and social innovation; the development of service
economies; and other developments such as rapid globalisation, and changing
nature of demographical structures, cultural practices, environmental affairs and
social services. These resulted with a world which is more interconnected, interde-
pendent and complex than ever. Therefore, a need has occurred to improve the
Foresight practice to tackle with these new situations in a more sensible way and to
respond to more sustainable policy needs. Any new Foresight approach in this
regard should aim for understanding these complex systems and their behaviours,
thus needs to be ‘systemic’. The current paper posits that the Foresight practice in
the 2010s will be shaped by the notions of systems thinking. As a first step of
understanding systems, the following section will discuss the underlying concepts
of systems thinking, which will constitute the base for the development of a SFM.
6.3 Systems Thinking
The medieval hierar chical metaphor relating to society and the heavens was
replaced by a mechanical metaphor with the rise of modern science from the
1500s to 1600s (e.g. Galileo and Newton). Science was transformed by a dramatic
new idea that the rules based on mathematical equations could be used to describe
the natural world. This mechanistic and reductionist principles fed the growth of the
physical sciences phenomenally. In their interest for natural science, social theorists
also enthusiastically adopted mechanistic model (Bausch 2002).
However, mechani stic models faced challenges when they were applied to
complex problems. Thus, there occurred a need to study the interconnectedness
of phenomena and the mechanisms that generate the phenomena, as well as the
complex wholes with their ‘emergent properties’ emerging not from individual
parts, but their interaction. The idea of using the concept of ‘system’ to understand
phenomena is attributed to Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s work in the late 1920s.
According to Bertalanffy (1929), a singular causal analysis was no more possible
when considering the complexity of the whole organism.
This gave rise to the introduction of the idea of ‘systems’ as an approach to deal
with the complexity inherent in physi cal, living and social systems (Church man
1968; Beer 1979; Ackoff 1981). Thus, the central concept of a ‘system’ embodies:
A set of elements connected together which form a whole, this showing the
properties which are properties of the whole, rather than properties of its compo-
nent parts (Checkland 1981).
Stemming from this definition, ‘systems thinking’ is about viewing ‘events’ as a
system and/or parts of larger systems. Systems thinking inherited a set of powerful
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 87
systems ideas such as ‘system’, ‘element’, ‘relationship’, ‘input’, ‘output ’, ‘bound-
ary’, ‘feedback’, and ‘communication’. These ideas led to the development of the
basic features of systems thinking including: (i) Causality, (ii) Holism, (iii) Hierar-
chy, and (iv) Continuity. Systems approaches and methodologies have been built
upon these concepts. Therefore, it is useful to give a brief definition of each.
Causality. Represents the effect of one or more system elements on the
properties or the behavious of the other(s). It is embodied through communication
among system elements via ‘feed-back’ and ‘feed-forward’ channels (Kay et al.
1999; Hammond 2002). The communication among system elements is due to the
reason that they are (1) interrelated, and (2) interdependent (Modarres and Cheon
1999). Interr elatedness explains the connections between the elements of the
system and implies that the system taken as a whole has properties that differ
from those of the simple sum of the effects of the individual relations hips between
the pairs of elements. Interdependency is more specific and is the way the
relationships are conducted. The properties and behaviour of each system element
and the way they affect the whole, depend on the properties and behaviour of at
least one other element in the set. This advocates holism in systems thinking.
Holism. One of the key features of systems thinking is the claim that it is
holistic, giving three messages: (i) the whole is more than the sum of its parts, (ii)
the parts cannot be considered in isolation from the whole, and (iii) the behaviour of
the system cannot be understood independent from its context.
Hierarchy. Hierarchy explains the grouping or arrangement of system according
to their higher and lower influence and coverage levels (e.g. upper level systems
and sub-systems or nested systems). Hierarchy emerges naturally in all evolving
systems (Simon 1962). This is because, systems exist as parts of larger wholes,
while they themselve s provide organisation to their sub-systems (Koestler 1967 ;
Churchman 1968). A system hierarchy may not always indicate well defined
conceptual boundaries, particularly in complex systems where the relationships
are not simple or complicated. This holds true both for present and future systems,
which the FTA is concerned with.
Continuity. Systems thinking recognises that systems transform themselves
continuously, and therefore are dynamic. Thus, continuity in systems explains an
iterative, dynamic and non-linear process. In systems terms, two types of continuity
can be mentioned (i) the continuity of a looped action sequence, and (ii) the
recursion of the looped action sequence in time. The first type of continuity can
be best represented with Argyris and Schon’s (1978) ‘single-loop’ and ‘double-
loop’ learning systems. During these loops a system reproduces a continua lly
changed self (Argyyis 1976; Argyyis and Schon 1978 ). The recursion of the looped
action sequence in time brings the second type of continuity. Vickers’s (1965 )
“Appreciative System” can be given as an example to demonstrate this type of
continuity, where the flux of events and ideas in time generate a new appreciation,
and appreciation itself leads to action while improving standards and norms.
A number of different systems can be mentioned including ‘closed’ and ‘open’
systems. Various systems approaches have been suggested to deal with those
systems like ‘hard’ or ‘functionalist’ systems approach (Churc hman et al. 1957);
88 O. Saritas
‘soft’ or ‘interpretive’ systems approach (Check land 1981 ); and a more recent
addition ‘emancipatory’ or ‘radical’ systems appro ach (Jackson 2001). These
approaches have all been built upon the basic features of systems thinking. They
suggest various ways of understanding and solving the problems in either mechani-
cal or social systems.
The dominant systems thinking of the post-WW2 period evolved in the context
of mechanistic thinking. This understanding was based on a body of well-developed
and tested theory stemming from engineering systems. It was assumed that systems
of all types could be identified by empirical observation of the reality and could be
analysed by the same approaches which had brought success in natural sciences.
Supporting one single perspective of the reality, it was assumed that systems were
the ‘objective’ aspects of reality, which could be represented equally by different
observers. The components of the system were considered to have clear causal
interconnections and relationships between them. The functionalist approaches
have seen successful applications in ‘bounded’ situations, where the components
of the system behave in a manner that is nearly optimal with respect to its goals and
resources (Simon 1957, 1962). However, this type of approach can only cope with
low human complexity and low to medium divergence of interests.
The interpretive (soft) allows a greater responsivenes s to the peculiarities of each
situation. Thus, the intervention to systems evolves as the situation changes.
Therefore, it can be said that a system is defined for a particular situation given.
The interpretive approach accepts that human and social systems cannot, in princi-
pal, be explained in a purely functional way. In the interpretive approach, the
definition of a system reflects the observer’s world view. Therefore, there is a
subjectivist view of systems, which means that no assumption is made to represent
the system as it is in reality. Rather, it is seen as a conceptualisation of what the
observer views as a useful and convenient representation of elements and interrela-
tionships in view of learning more about the behaviour of a system.
Like the interpretive approach, the emancipatory systems approach takes a
subjectivist view of systems. The emancipatory approach has evolved in response
to challenges imposed by complexities of socio-cultural systems in ‘radical’ cases
where, for example, conflicts and unequal power distribution occur. The basic idea
of emancipatory approach lies in its thinking that various stakeholders in society
may see systems radically different with different values and boundary judgements.
The radical view accepts that these stakeholder s may be in conflict of confronta-
tional relationship with each other and may be unequal in terms of their power.
Thus, the emancipatory approach aims to identify inequalities and promote radical
The nature of the situations under investigation determines the kind of system
approach to be used for understandin g and intervention.
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 89
6.4 Systemic Foresight Methodology (SFM)
6.4.1 Background of the SFM
The review of literature and the evaluation of current Foresight practice reveal that
there is a great potential that systems thinking might assuage the Foresight practice
when dealing with complex social and human systems and situations involved in
them. With its basi c features outlined above, systems thinking recognises complex-
ity and uncertainty involved both in real world systems (physical and social) and in
idea creation, while attempting to propose actions within either bounded or open
systems. If institutional Foresight acknowledges the importance of causality’, then
it would be possible to understand how system elements affect the properties or the
behaviours of other system elements and thus the behaviour of the whole system.
Understanding the int errelationships and interdependencies is necessary for the
discussion and definition of system boundaries, which is one of the most crucial
phases of Foresight.
Consideration on the relationships between and within systems turns attentions
from individual system elements to the wholes. With the adoption of the holistic
thinking, the SFM pays attention to the forces outside, which may have impacts on
the viability and success of the system under investigation. Thus, decisions taken
will be better prepared against the influences originating from the wider context.
Similarly, the decisio n makers will appreciate the impacts of their decisions on
wider social and environmental systems. Foresight focuses on the systems or bits of
them which can have strong potentials to change or transform the wider systems.
Understanding the hierarchy of systems provides structural and functional
boundaries for Foresight. Structurally, attentions are turned to the description of the
system, its parts and other higher and lower level systems, their arrangements and
interactions. This would allow Foresight to facilitate communication and informa-
tion flow via feed-back and feed-forward mechanisms, which will allow: (i) to
provide continuous adaptation of the Foresight system to changing internal and
external conditions, and (ii) to secure improvement and further development while
providing for maintenance of stability. Furthermore, the understanding the func-
tional hierarchy will bridge the principle purpose of doing Foresight with the
activities carried out throughout the exercise. From this viewpoint, activities can
be considered as the functions and sub-functions of the overall objectives. The
realisation of functions and sub-functions will assure that the objectives of Fore-
sight are achieved. Having this viewpoint, the systemic approach will enable the
integration of ‘ends’ (what is wanted) and ‘means’ (how to get there) of the
Foresight activity.
Systems thinking recognises that systems transform themselves continuously
and therefore are dynamic. This implies a dynamic and non-linear process for
Foresight. ‘Continuity’ for Foresight first means that the process flows from
understanding to anticipation and then to transformation, and the recurrence of
this process in a looped manner. This continuous looped action sequence in time
90 O. Saritas
brings the second type of continuity. Here the Foresight system learns, evolves and
intervenes into situations through the modification of norms, policies and
Having set its underlying assumptions, the SFM claims that a robust Foresight
exercise involves a continuous interplay between the context, content and process
of change together with skills in regulating the relations between the three
(Fig. 6.2). Any change activity, like Foresight, should be linked to a broader
context. The lack of attention away from the context leaves the critical issues
unrecognised. Thus, Foresight should not strive to understand the issues as episodes
divorced from the historical, organisational and/or economic systems from which
they emerge. Three important points can be specified for further examination of the
context of Foresight:
1. The need to gain a rich understanding of existing systems and procedures, their
history and possible futures
2. The analysis of different stakeholder pers pectives and their social relations in the
system, which can affect and be affected by the process
3. The impacts of formal and informal networks and procedures, which can be in
favour or in conflict with other systems
Considering the nature of the Foresight activity, two context levels can be
distinguished: (1) External context, and (2) Internal context. Foresight is embedded
in these two contexts which produce and are produced by the activity. The Foresight
activity is then about perceiving the context through a holistic scanning exercise;
capturing the points of intervention, which constitute the content of the change
programme; and anticipating, and developing future-oriented policies and
strategies on this content through a designed process. Thus the overall SFM can
be represented as follows (Fig. 6.1):
The So cial, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political, and Value
(STEEPV) systems constitute the external context, where the Foresight activity is
embedded in and thus is influe nced by the factors in them. Foresight aims for
improving or changing one or more parts of these systems. The content, or agenda,
of the Foresight exercise is extracted from the STEEPV systems, which are
interrelated and interdependent and constitute the real world situations. Loveridge
and Saritas (2009) have formulated three questions to be asked as a starting point to
investigate into those situations (Fig. 6.2).
The content s of the first two questions are recognised in the context of science
(possible) and technology (feasible). However, both have added contexts and
contents that extend into the third question of desirability where the social, political
and value contexts intersect with the two questions in interdependencies of gover-
nance, regulation, precaution, social acceptance and policy.
Besides understanding the external context, it is also essential to investigate on
the internal context, which can be considered as a filtering factor when the external
context is viewed and appreciated and the content of the Foresight activity is built.
The internal context relates to the structures (e.g. internal processes, procedures,
equipment and technologies) and behaviours (e.g. culture, politics, social
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 91
interaction, skills, motivation, power and management styles) within the context of
the organisation where institutional Foresight is organised and carried out. The
internal context covers all parties involved in designing, organising and deploying
the Foresight activity. The success of the activity is dependent on a large extent on
these parties and their motivation and expertise in field.
In Foresight, the ‘what’ of change is encapsulated under the label of content,
which refers to (1) the subject area(s) taken into consideration, which are captured
from the context through scanning, and (2) the ideas created related to those areas
during the Foresight activity. The main goal of Foresight in this sense is to
introduce change or improvements into the content of the exercise and thus to
provide further changes or improvements in the context.
Fig. 6.2 Questions for systemic Foresight
Fig. 6.1 Systemic Foresight concept
92 O. Saritas Behavioural Matters in Foresight
Foresight create s information for the future of society under uncertainty and
complexity. It is expected to place greater emphasis on the need for the active
participation by a balanced but wide spread of stakeholders who, through involve-
ment in decision making and behavioural matters will help to shape the future of
society, in this way distinguishing the proposals from other future oriented policy
making tools. Changing scope and focus of Fores ight requires the activity to be
enabled a much wider cross section of people to take part. In order to achieve this
inclusivity, the organisers of the activities need to put much effort into understand-
ing these behavioural matters. The SFM also considers the behavioural matters and
recognizes their pervasive influence throughout all Foresight process. Behavioural
matters are inherent both in systems and in the Foresight process itself.
The notion of ‘open’ system comes from the unpredictability of the behaviours
of the system elements. In this respect, systems, particularly human and
social systems, behave differently both spatially and in time under different
circumstances. Therefore, systemic investigations require specific approaches,
which are developed following an ‘understanding’ phase.
The Foresight process itself is ‘soft’ and ‘open’ due to the inclusivity of various
actors and stakehol ders in the process with different perceptions, worldviews and
visions. Inclusivity is a matte r of creating trust across a wide range of communities
in discussions of future developments (...). The objective ought to be to enable the
participation of a broad spectrum of people who are concerned about the feasibility
of technological developments and their desirability. To introduce inclusiveness
will require a change in mind-set by programme sponsors, organisers,
practitioners, the direct participan ts and the audience to whom the outcome is
directed. Indeed, the process has to be one in which experts and non-experts regard
each other as equal but different agendas and capabilities that each needs to
understand. Bringing this mutual appreciation about will test communication and
interpersonal social skills to their limit. In this sense inclusiveness is a matter of
definition and process. Extending participation introduces specific management
and process needs if Foresight programmes are to be extended into the social
sphere without becoming chaotic (Loveridge and Saritas 2009).
Understanding the behavioural matters in Foresight would lead to a more
dynamic and adaptive way of conducting the activity. During the process of
Foresight, the organisers and participants of the activity should be seen not only
as the technical experts, but also as the key agents of social and organisational
change. Transformation of a system from its present state to a more desirable future
state requires actions to change the individual and organisational behaviours.
The role of behavioural matters in Foresight will be discussed with the case of
the Higher Education Foresight case, which will be presented in the next sections
of the paper following the description of the phases of the SFM.
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 93
6.4.2 The Phases of the SFM
The SFM sets out to create systemic concepts that are useable for future-oriented
idea creation in complex human and soci al systems. The SFM considers the
Foresight activity as a ‘systemic inquiry where the actual design of the system
can only be partially specified in advance of system operation. This is because,
when human and social systems are dealt with, the most thoughtful and carefully
designed systems may have unintended consequences. System behaviour and
informal structure emerge only through system operation regardless of the detail
or diligence in design efforts prior to system deployment.
The SFM considers the design of an institutional Foresight activity as a creative
process that will be engaged in designing a future system to fulfil goals and
expectations. Therefore, the SFM specifies only the minimal requirements neces-
sary to achieve the systems objectives. Thus, the SFM suggests a learning system,
which structures a systems-based debate to formulate the basic phases of: (1)
Intelligence, (2) Imagination, (3) Integration, (4) Interpretation, (5) Intervention,
(6) Impact, and (7) Interaction. These phases aim at guiding Fores ight practitioners
to set their agendas for the different phases of the Foresight activity and to give
direction to their thinking processes. The benefits of this appro ach lies in its
systemic guiding (1) to the design of a Foresight methodology, which fits well
with the context and content of the exercise, and thus (2) to decisi on making
involved in thinking about the fut ure and connecting the future with the present.
The consecutive phases explain how systems such as human and social systems,
industrial and sectoral systems, and innovation systems are understood, approached
and intervened for a successful change process. They follow each other, as the steps
of the Foresight process, but they are iterative and can be repeated as many times
until the practitioners believe that their complete function has been fulfilled.
The SFM is suggested as a conceptual base for the design, organization and
deployment of Foresight exercises. Methods are not the departure points of the SFM
approach. They are used to support and develop understanding of the situat ions, to
discuss and develop alternative models of the future and achieve outcomes through
networking, mutual learning and collective visionin g, and outputs in the form of
policies and strategies. Methods are selected and integrated following a compre-
hensive ‘understanding’ exercise. In this way, methodological solutions are pro-
duced after the diagnosis and conceptualisation of situations. Figure 6.3 illustrates
the phases of the SFM. Intelligence (Scoping Phase: Surveying, Scanning, Evidence)
Intelligence is the first and fundamental step of the SFM. Foresight deals with are
usually complex systems, which consist of a large number of interacting elements
(Roe 1998). According to Roe, the appropriate approach to complexity is to
embrace it and resulting uncertainty and to analyse different subsets of interactions
94 O. Saritas
which may be relevant from a number of fundamentally different operational and
philosophical perspectives.
Holling (2000) and Gunderson and Holling (2001) suggest alternative ways
of dealing with complexity. Holling (2001) states that the complexity of living
systems of people and nature emerges not from a random association of a large
number of interacting factors rather from a smaller number of controlling pro-
cesses. These systems are self-organised, and a small set of critical processes create
and maintain this self-organisation (...) There is a requisite level of simplicity
behind the complexity that, if defined, can lead to an understanding that is rigor-
ously developed but can be communicated lucidly (p. 390). Whatever way of
understanding the complexity is adopted, when the complex systems are examined,
the following criteria suggested by Holling (2001) should be satisfied:
Be “as simple as possible but no simpler (Ein stein)” than is required for
understanding and communication
Be dynamic and prescriptive, not static and descriptive. Monitoring of the
present and past is static unless it connects to policies and actions and to the
evaluation of different futures
Embrace uncertainty and unpredictability. Surprise and structural change are
inevitable in systems of people and nature (p. 391)
As the first phase of the systemic process of inquiry, the Intelligence phase
begins with a comprehensive understanding and scanning exercise, which provides
input for the overall activity. Understanding seeks to attain a reasonably compre-
hensive view of situations involved in the STEEPV systems. The aim is to gain a
shared understanding and mutual appreciation of situations, issues, and influencing
factors as systems within their own contexts by uncovering uncer tainties about the
values and preferences of actors and stakeholders, and clarifying the goals of the
entire activity. In this way, the SFM offers a mind-set for understanding how
systems work and behave. The aim is not necessarily to bring about a convergence
Fig. 6.3 Phases of the
Systemic Foresight
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 95
of views, but, at least a partial convergence is likely to emerge from this process in
As an integral part of the Intelligence phase, scanning provides basic input to the
entire activity. Overall, scanning is concerned with the systematic examination of
potential threats, opportunities and likely future developments, which are at the
margins of current thinking and planning (DEFRA 2002). Selecting the main areas
for intervention, the boundaries of the Foresight are drawn and the ‘content’ of
Foresight is built through an initial scanning activity. Various quantitative and
qualitative Foresight methods can be used to create input at this phase including
horizon scanning, bibliometrics, literature review, and analysis of trends, drivers,
weak signals, wild cards/shocks/surprises, and disc ontinuities (Saritas and Smith
As a result of this process, the initial boundaries of the system under investiga-
tion can be drawn and the content of change can be defined by capturing the key
drivers of change , and other factors which may have strong potential impacts on the
future of the systems under investigation. Imagination (Creative Phase: Concepts, Models, Scenarios, Visions)
The input gained from the Intelligence phase is synthesized around the models of
the situations involved in the real world. These are conceptual models to a large
extent which are shaped by the subjective perceptions of the observers involved in
the activity. The aim is not to obtain the true representations of the situations, but to
achieve agreeable and workable models, which should be able to represent:
Wealth of a system: The inherent potential of a system that is available for
change, since that potential determines the range of future options possible.
Wealth or pote ntial of a system sets limits for what is possible and determines
the number of alternative options for the future
Controllability of a system: A measure that reflects the degree of flexibility of
the rigidity of a system. It determines the degree to which a system can control
its destiny
Adaptive capacity: The resilience of a system as a measure of its vulnerability to
unexpected and unpredictable shocks
The boundaries of the Foresight activity are finalised based on the modelling
exercise. The next step is then the development of future models to explore
alternative images of the future based on anticipation. These models will cover a
range of possible, plausible and desirable future systems. Independent from existing
systems and their influence, fundamentally new systems can be suggested with the
involvement of high level of creativity. New actors and stakeholders can be brought
in, existing ones can be removed, and/or new roles can be suggested for them.
Similarly, new relationships between the system elements can be established and
existing ones can be modified and/or removed. The overall aim is to create a
desirable future system.
96 O. Saritas
Visual representation tools are very valuable to understand systems, their
elements and the relationships between them. Systemic models represented can
portray how the impacts of trends and emerging issues move inward and outward,
and influence the structure, behaviours, opportunities and constraints. These models
lead to the creation of various alternative scenarios for the future. Modelling,
Scenario planning, Gami ng and Simulation are the methods which may be of
help to explore alternative fut ures. The analysis of Weak Signals and Wild Cards
may help to test the adaptive capacity of systems under extreme conditions, and
surprises. The Imagination phase involves high level of creativity and innovative
thinking. Integration (Ordering Phase: Analysis, Negotiations, Priorities)
Following the construction of alternative models of the future in the Imagination
phase, the Integration phase is concerned with the systemic analysis of those
alternatives and selecting the most desirable one. The analysis and selection of a
desired system is multifaceted as there is a variety of worldviews and expectations
to be negotiated. According to Ackoff (1981), for a system to be viable in the long
term, the claims of different stakeholders must be considered adequately, and
therefore, attention must be given to ethical and aesthetic aspects for the pursuit
of ideals such as beauty, truth, good and plenty. Therefore, there is a strong element
of negotiations involved to determine priorities in the light of an agreed vision.
During this process, decisions on the desired future system need to be aligned
with the normative goals and values. An inclusive process, where the creative
exchange of ideas and information sharing among participants is experienced, is
beneficial. The definition of the ‘most desirable’ future system is a matter of
‘prioritisation’. The end product of this phase is an agreed model of the future.
Methods like Delphi, Cross Impact Analysis, Multi-Criteria Analysis, SWOT and/
or Cost/Benefit/Risk analysis can be considered among the methods to support this
process. Interpretation (Strategy Phase: Agendas, Strategies)
Following the decision on the most desirable/preferable future, this phase aims to
connect this future with the present and sets out agendas and strategies for action.
Thus, the Interpretation phase establishes the relationship between the future and
the present for a successful change programme. The transformation from the
present system to a desirable future system requires strategic level decisions to be
taken such as on: (i) skills and educational systems needed; (ii) awareness of market
and social demands for innovations; (iii) public acceptability of particular lines of
advance, (iv) scope for formation and growth of firms, and (iv) financial institutions
and incentives.
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 97
Due to the systemic relationships between these elements, the transformation
process needs to bring a broad range of STEEPV factors together. The following
factors constitute conditions for the successful transformation strategies:
Assessment (e.g. processing information; developing an understanding of the
continuously changing context; and becoming an open learning system)
Leadership (e.g. having a context-sensitive leadership; creating capabilities for
change; linking actions with resources; and constructing a climate for change)
Linking strategic and operational change (e.g. supplying visions, values and
directions; implementing intentions over time; and implementing supportive
Management of human resources (e.g. raising human resource management
consciousness; demonstrating the need for change in people and behaviours;
creating a longer term learning process with successive positive spirals of
Coherence (e.g. achieving the consistency of goals, creating an adaptive
response to environment; and maintaining competitive advantage)
A backcasting or roadmapping procedure would be beneficial to define the steps
of the transformation process in the long, medium and short run. Intervention (Action Phase: Plans, Policies, Actions)
Any Foresight exercise has to inform policies and actions. Therefore the main
action of the Intervention phase is action with the main activities involving the
creation of plans, policies and actions to inform present day decisions conce rning
immediate change actions to implement structural and behavioural transformations.
Actions suggested at this phase aim to give messages on the first and most
immediate interventions to the existing systems. Operational level questions are
asked for act ions such as: ‘what and how’, ‘where and how’ and ‘who and how’.
The actions for change are determined by considering the following capabilities of
the system under investigation: (i) Adapting; (ii) Influencing and shaping its
context; (iii) Finding a new milieu or modelling itself virtuously in its context;
and (iv) Adding value to the viability and development of wider wholes in which it
is embedded. Action plans, Operational plans, Prio rity lists, Critical/key
technologies can be among the outputs produced at this phase. Impact (Evaluation Phase)
Foresight process requires substantive investments, often through public funding,
and imply considerable costs in terms of time and expertise invested. If impacts of
Foresight cannot be made clear, the commitment for investing resources will
decrease, and as a result the activity will be discontinued. Therefore, an Impact
phase is added to the process, which is concerned with the review, evaluation and
98 O. Saritas
renewal of the Foresight exercise. This phase will examine the impacts during the
process (e.g. produc tion of baseline reports, articulation of visions, and building
new linkages), immediately after (e.g. new integrated projects and programmes)
and sometime later (e.g. innovation impacts and new working communities).
The impacts of Foresight should be kept in mind from the beginning of the
Foresight process, and the methodology should be designed to achieve those
impacts. An effective communication strategy is essential during and after the
Foresight process for assisting the participants and target audience in making
sense of the results. Im pacts of are measured through an evaluation exercise,
which is commonly conducted based on three criteria including (i) appropriateness
of objectives and methodology; (ii) efficiency of implementation with a focus on
management and organisational processes, and appropriate use of funds; and (iii)
impact and effectiveness through the recognition of the results, creation of a
Foresight culture and new combinations of stakeholders and networks. Although
the Impact phase can be considered as the final phase of the process, there is a
strong learning element involved in this process, which determines how to design
and implement and better Foresight exercise. Thus, it can also be considered as a
beginning of the next cycle of Foresight. Interaction (Participative and Interactive Phase)
Foresight is an inclusive activity. Intera ction with the systematic involvement of
stakeholders in an inclusive process with long-term perspective for the analysis of
different perspectives and their social relations in the system are crucial for the
Foresight process. The SFM recognises the inclusiveness and equity through
freedom of association and expression and the role of the democratic society,
which may influence, restrain or block policy design and implementation. The
Interaction phase emphasises the need for effectiveness and efficiency in meeting
society’s expec tations and sustainable use of resources, and therefore, aims to
develop mechanisms to provide contributions of society, institutions, corporations,
and associations to enhance policy with a normative and legal framework.
All phases of the SFM described above are systemically interrelated. Ea ch of
them builds on the previous one, culminating in policies, strategies and actions for
the design of a future system. However, information and action flow between the
phases are not necessarily in a linear way, but from one to the others in a systemic
way. Each phase can be iterated more than once until the outputs and process
outcomes planned are achieved. Upon completion of the process the phases link
back to create a full circle of Foresight in a continuous loop (Fig. 6.1) in a similar
stance with Vickers’s (1965) “Appreciative System” and Argyris and Schon’s
(1978) double-loop learning. This allows the continuous development and adapta-
tion of systems. It is important to highlight that the process of Foresight is just as
important as the end-product, and that the commitment to the process by
participants is essential if the policies and strategies are to be successfully
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 99
In order to assist prac titioners to build an agenda for each phase, the six strands
of Foresight are introduced:
1. Futures strand (‘when’): systematic exploration of trends, projections, scenarios,
wild cards, and policy responses
2. Capacity building strand (‘who’): a systematic development of shared learning,
networking, collaboration and intelligence between stakeholders involved
3. Strategic planning strand (‘how’): a systematic application to longer term policy,
in the context of uncertainty, complexity and controversy of the issue along
with the following three further strands:
4. Worldviews/goals strand (‘why’): the worldviews, values ad discourses between
different stakeholders
5. Institutions/structures strand (‘what ’): factors in the institutions or structures
related to the way systems are organised
6. Theme strand (‘which’): specific areas in sectors or technologies as the focus of
First three have been suggested by Miles and Keenan (2002 ). Three more strands
have been added to allow fuller information gathering and action planning. The
SFM brings together the phases with the six strands of Foresight (Fig. 6.4).
The phases of Foresight provide a process orientation of the activity, while the
strands of Foresight set out agenda for each phase.
6.4.3 The Use of Methods in the Systemic Foresight
The systemic process described above does not take the methods as a starting point,
as the methods need to be regarded as process and decision aids (‘means’), not as
the overall aim of the exercise in themselves (‘ends’). Strengt hened by the ideas of
systems thinking, the SFM views Foresight methods as the tools to be used as part
of the means to explore ideas, acquire information and data, clarify situations and
negotiate solutions. Foresight is suggested to be not only a methodologically
‘systematic’ activity, but an activity, which creates its own methodological
approaches with the consideration of the nature of the issue at hand and its context.
It is due to, first, the peculiarities of each situation and, second, the subjective
interpretation of those peculiarities, the SFM does not attempt to impose any
methods from the earlier phases of the systemic inquiry. Instead of putting the
methods at the forefront of investigation, the SFM suggests a more conceptual and
flexible ‘process orientation’ , which starts with a comprehensive ‘understanding’ of
situations. Methods will be used, modified or tailored whenever needed. Further-
more, new methods will be created to handle the unique requirements of systems
under investigation. While doing this, the SFM benefits from a pool of available
foresight and forecasting methods and other planning and policy tools. It is
100 O. Saritas
considered to be useful, particularly for the practitioners, to specify various
methods, which might be of use for each phase of the Foresight process (Fig. 6.5).
Each column in the figure indicates a phase of the systemic foresight process
with their functions and key activities involved. The selection and integration of
methods in the list are done under the guidance of the phases with a close interac-
tion with the context, where the Foresight activity takes place and is expected to
improve. Rangin g from divergent and more creative methods to convergent and
more quant itative, all methods involve a certain degree of information input,
creativity, exper tise and participation. The methods given in the table are indicative
and the list can be extended with other methods given that they fulfil the functions
of different phases described above. It is important to note that the use of the
methods will also be determined by available resources including expertise, skills,
time and budget along with the level and type of participation required.
6.5 SFM in Practice: Two Case Examples
The SFM described in this paper has been applied ful ly or partially in various
Foresight exercises in different contexts. This section will describe two cases. The
first case is about the implementation of the SFM in two university departments to
first to develop visions and then formulate research and teaching strategy. In this
case, the SFM is used to provide a process orientation to the overall Foresight
activity. Two parallel cases, which started at the same time, highlight the soft and
evolutionary nature of the Foresight process and emphasises the relationship
between the context, content and process of Foresight. Both Foresight exercises
resulted with different processes and methodologies. The reasons for this will be
discussed from the SFM viewpoint. The second case briefly demonstrates how a
Fig. 6.4 Architecture of the Systemic Foresight Methodology
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 101
methodological approach was developed for a Regional Foresight exercise on
Renewable Energies in Berlin-Brandenburg in the context of the EU-funded
“Benchmarking and Foresight for Regions of Europe (BEFORE)” project
(Selecting and combining methods with the use of the SFM framework). This
case describes how the SFM was used to combine quantitative and qualitative
methods in line with the objectives, context, content of the Foresight exercise
under resource limitations. The impact phase of the SFM process is not
demonstrated, as the cases have not been evaluated.
6.5.1 Systemic Foresight in Higher Education Institutions
Two Systemic Foresight exercises were designed, organized and implemented in
order to demonstrate the first applications of the SFM. For this purpose, two
academic departments, the Department of Project and Construction Management
in Istanbul Technical University (PYY), and the Department of Civil Engineering
in Bogazici University (BUIM), were selected as host organizations. Thus, two
institutional Foresight exercises took place in two different organizational settings
with the participation of two different groups simultaneously. The involvement of
two contextually different organizations in parallel was a unique opportunity to test
the SFM and see how the interaction of different contexts, contents and processes
would give rise to different practices and outcomes.
(more open,
Scoping /
Survey, scan,
Knowledge /
research map
STI policy
mining &
Creative phase
Concept model,
Scenario stories
/ images
Agent –based
Strategy phase
SWOT analysis
Strategic planning
Logic framework
Action phase
Plans, policies,
R&D planning
Action planning
Critical / key
Priority lists
Evaluation phase
Review, revision,
Policy review
Policy impact
INTERACTION Panels, workshops, conferences, training courses, dissemination, awareness raising, surveys, interviews
Fig. 6.5 Classification of Foresight methods
102 O. Saritas The Process
A Fores ight process was designed with the use of the SFM framework. Be ing the
integral parts of the projects, the phase s gave to the activities by defining minimal
requirements for the systemic process of inquiry. In addition, an introduction phase
was added, which aimed at introducing the activity, presenting the methodology,
and clarifying the goals. Thus, the phases of projects consisted of:
1. Project proposal and definition of goals (Introduction)
2. Systems, elements and relationships (Intelligence)
3. Construction2023
4. PYY/BUIM2023 visions and priorities (Integration)
5. Road mapping (Interpretation)
6. Research and Development, and Education and Training strategies
As the projects moved forward, the actual project process was elaborated
through the interaction among the context, content and process.
Project Proposal and Definition of the Project Goa ls
This phase aimed to promote Foresight with a presentation and form commitment
via group decisions on the project goals. Having the contributions of the project
participants in the definition of the goals helped to provide the commitment needed.
In the end of phase 1, both PYY and BUIM establish ed a set of project goals in
order to develop their visions as academic institutions including:
1. Thinking about the long term future in a holistic manner, and
2. Developing future visions for the construction industry and for their
departments, with
3. A wide participation, to
4. Identify the future R&D and T&E areas, and to
5. Develop research and teaching policies and strategies for long, medium and
short terms
Intelligence: Understanding Systems, Elements and Relationships
Understanding and appreciation of the systems were seen as imperative. Intelli-
gence gathering aimed to attain a reasonably comprehensive view of the issues
within its wider context in order to gain a shar ed and mutual understanding of the
systems. Thus, this phase:
The year 2023 was determined based on the considerations on the nature of the construction
sector, where disruptive changes are not usually introduced earlier than 20 years.
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 103
1. Applied the basic principles of systems thinking on the academic units’ own
organizational settings
2. Widened the participants’ views on the system by helping them to understand
the system that they operate in
3. Helped to appre ciate the hierarchy of systems and understanding the higher and
lower level systems and the relationships between them
4. Focused on departmental systems and on the external systems. Considered not
only on the relationships between departments and other systems, but also on the
interrelationships between other external systems
5. Provided understanding on how different systems interact and affect each other
by analysing the relationships between them
Imagination: Modelling Construction 2023
This phase aimed at exploring, designing and integrating alternative systems.
Considering the systems in the construction sector and relationships between
them, the aim was to initiate a dialogue o n the future of the construction sector.
Besides exploring alternative futures for the construction industry, this phase also
gave ‘visionary messages’ to PYY/BUIM from a wide variety of stakeholders. The
visionary messages carried clues on: (1) The general future orientation of the
department in the light of the developments in the sector; (2) Possible areas for
R&D; and (3) Relevant education and training (E&T) areas.
Integration: Analysis and Vision Building
In the scope of the outcomes of the previous phase s, including the systems and the
possible and desired futures for the construction industry, the aim at this phase was
to open a discussion on the future of the departments and to explore alternative
futures for PYY and BUIM . Following the production of the models of the future,
this phase was concerned with the analysis of alternative systems and the decision
on the most desirable future system that PYY and BUIM preferred to create and be
a part of in the construction sector.
Interpretation: Transformation
With the aim of transforming the pres ent system to a desired future system, this
phase defined a relationship between future and present focusing on the overall
change of the existing system. In both PYY2023 and BUIM 2023 exercises, the kind
of structural and behavior al changes needed were identified and planned at this
phase. In this transformation process, Normative, Strategic and Operational level
decisions were made on the future Research and Dev elopment (R&D) and
104 O. Saritas
Education and Training (E&T) areas, the need for new research and teaching staff,
and infrastructural needs.
Intervention: Actions
This p hase was concerned with the creation of action plans to inform present day
decisions for the initial interventions to the existing system. In light of the decisions
taken in this phase regarding the medium and short term future, the departments
were asked to come up with a ‘to do list’ for present. This was a tactical document
for PYY and BUIM where the members of PYY and BUIM identified actions to be
taken at the operational level.
The methodologically systemic exercises aimed at creating ideas which were not
fragmented and disconnected. The focus was given to wider systems in a holistic
manner. The methods applied were not imposed instead they were used and
developed during the course of the exercises (e.g. methods on Value System,
Systems-Actors, Systems-Success Factors, Baseline Scenario Systems). Some
common methods were also adopted with a systemic perspective such as integrated
scenarios produced from the earlier methods designed. The framework of the
integrated scenario was based on the transformations of the goals, behaviors and
structures over long, medium and short ter ms. The same structure was used in a
survey, Construction2023, which aimed to collect the ideas of stakeholders on the
future of the construction industry. The Outcomes
The outcomes of the PYY2023 and BUIM2023 Systemic Foresight exercises
Future directions for PYY and BUIM:
Broad strategies and issues that raise points of leverage, priority lists with
detailed action plans for the impleme ntation of the strategy
Thematic strategies for new areas of research and new research in
established areas specifying where PYY and BUIM should make research
applications relevant to the long, medium and short term future
A progr am, which forms a coherent pool of themes suitable for creating new
topics for Ph. D. and M.Sc. theses and dissertations allowing PYY and
BUIM to benefit from their current and future graduate students contributions
to the research topics identified at the departmental level and research theme
level for the next 15–20 years.
New courses, teaching methods and media: New courses were identified
for the next 5-10-15 and 20 years. The R&D areas were also considered to be
potential areas for E&T. Along with the content; ideas were developed to use
novel teaching methods and media. Necessary modifications of existing
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 105
graduate and undergraduate curricula in light of identified E&T areas were
Strategy for human resources: From the systemic Foresight process, PYY and
BUIM gained knowledge of their current potentials with all their research and
teaching human resources, their areas of interest and the infrastructure of the
departments including:
Improved allocation of research and teaching potential: After the
exercises, the departments knew which staff members are interested in the
identified research and teaching areas now and in short, medium and long
term future
Recruitment: Knowing the research and teaching potential and the future
R&D and E&T areas, the departments decided on the profile of the research
and teaching staff required and when they are needed. For instance, PYY now
knows that researchers working on ‘the use of remote sensing in construction’
might be needed around 2012–2015, since this topic has been higher on the
agenda recently. This also means that PYY should select graduate students
willing to work in this field immediately to produce potential researchers by
New infrastructure needed: Knowing the human resources needed for the
future, the departments determined their infrastructural needs, which could
come into existence in the following years in relat ion to the allocation of its
Collaborations: PYY and BUIM became clearer with whom to collaborate.
By showing the other relevant systems, the systemic Foresight exercises
helped the departments to identify the actors to take collaborative actions in
the fut ure including other academic institutions, public and private sector
organizations, and NGOs
Knowing themselves: The systemic Foresight process opened new commu-
nication channels between the members of the departments who usually have
limited interaction during the problem-driven departmental meetings and
who do not know actually who do es what, and who wants to do what in the
Besides these commonalities, both exercises involved substantial differences in
terms of processes and methodologies used. These will be reported in the discussion
section, where both cases will be discussed in the light of the lessons learned from
the implementation of the cases. Before doing that the following section will
describe the second case briefly.
106 O. Saritas
6.5.2 Development of a Methodology for a Regional Foresight
A Regional Foresight exercise was conducted in the Berlin-Brandenburg region in
the context of the EU-funded BEFORE (Benchmarking and Foresight for Regions
of Europe) project. One of the objectives of the project was to carry out Foresight
studies with the aim of analysing the future challenges on the subject of Research
and Technological Development (RTD) of the selected European regions. First
regional Foresight activities started in Brandenburg in 2008 on two sectors: Renew-
able Energies and Logistics. The particular exercise on Renewable Energies aimed
at supporting Research and Technology Development (RTD) programs and to set
policies for sector. First, actions were taken for the comprehensive ‘understanding’
of the regional cont ext and the sector. The activities undertaken included:
Descriptions of the sectors at the regional level
Analysis of the trends and drivers in Renewable Energies and Logistics sectors
Review of other Foresight exercises at different levels including global, Euro-
pean, national, regional and sectoral level exercises, which could provide con-
text for the sectora l Foresight exercises
Preparation of a scoping document for Regional Foresight, which aimed at
clarifying the rationales and key objectives of the exercise, regional and sectoral
actors and stakeholders, and a list of participants of the exercise
Based on the initial analysis of the region and the sector, a workshop proposal
document was prepared, which provided an in depth ‘understanding’ of the regional
and sectoral contexts and the content of the exercise. Following this preparatory
work, the first workshop was held in Potsdam, Germany in late September 2007.
This inclusive meeting hosted participants from researc h centres, academia,
regional policy makers and representatives of associations. The goals of the
meeting were to discuss and develop an understanding of the regional and sectoral
contexts. This activity informed the methodology of the Foresight exercise in a
greater detail.
In the light of this background work and during the interactive discussions
during the wor kshop, key objectives were agreed for the Foresight exercise.
These objectives were classified under three main pillars, which constituted also
the outcomes expected from the Foresight exercise:
1. Key technologies (e.g. identify key technologies for the next 10–20 years;
promote technology learning; strengt hen technology transfer; utilize existing
technologies; and involve in the development, shaping and expert technologies)
2. Structural and organizational improvement of the sector (e.g. improve collabo-
ration among actors; improve supplier/value chains; initiate new partnerships
and investments; establish state-wide SME network; and establish international
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 107
3. Policies and strategies for the Renewable Energies sector (e.g. improve compet-
itiveness of companies, scientific organizations and intermediaries; establish the
capital region as relevant and attractive location; improve services; and exploit a
large market in the region and beyond)
Following a comprehensive thought experiment to understand the sector, three
methodological pathways were suggested in line with the objectives, which then led
to the development of the overall methodology: (1) Technology Path; (2) Structural
Path; and (3) Policy path Technology Path
The following methods were used to identify critical technologies in line with the
objectives given above:
Scanning: For the analysis of STEEPV systems and discuss their implications
on technologies
Bibliometrics/Literature Review: Fo r the review the technol ogies to generate
energy and discuss in panels which are relevant and promising for Brande nburg
(considering industry’s and people’s needs, other energy needs i.e. to produce
and to export energy generat ion devices/instruments)
Key Indicators/Forecasts: Analysis of sectoral forecasts and long term
projections on technologies
Synthesis: For the review and synthesis of the previous Foresight work
Scenarios with wide participation (including citizens) identify the ‘demands of
society’ from the technology
Delphi: Represents the ‘supply’ side whethe r the demands in the scenarios are
possible and feasible or not. Helps to define time of realisation for selected
technologies and technology areas. Also helps to identify priority technologies
Roadmaps: For the development of Technology Roadmaps for prioritised
technologies at different levels such as Technology Product/Capability/Deve l-
Produce a list of critical technologies
Suggest R&D projects and plan R&D activities and resources
The Technology path is illustrated in Fig. 6.6. Structural Path
A combination of the following methods was used to propose actions for structural
and organisational transformations:
System Analysis: Analysis of the valu e chain helps to come to a better under-
standing of how the sector works and what the actors/stakeholders are
108 O. Saritas
Clustering by stakeholder mapping helps to map the actors in the sector and to
indicate ‘who is doing what’
Mega trend analysis: Sectoral megatrends will give clues on changing roles in
the sectors and inclusion of new actors/stakeholders in the process in the future
Scenarios: Various scenarios around Input–output relationships illustrate the
future organisation of the sector
SWOT analysis of the existing structures against the structures suggested in the
visionary/most desirable scenario
Delphi: To identify types of collaborations needed among stakeholders in order
to establish new links in the system
Strategic plans: for the restructuring of the sector in the medium term
Action planning: To suggest immediate actions to change/improve structures
and organisations and to introduce new rules and regulations
The Structural path is illustrated in Fig. 6.7. Policy Path
A Policy path was designed for the Renewable Energies sector with the combina-
tion of the following methods:
Scanning: For the analysis of Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological,
Political and Value (STEEPV) systems to understand what type of energies
will be needed and what kind of demand will come out
Fig. 6.6 Technology path
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 109
Key Indicators/Forecasting: For the analysis of sectoral forecasts and long
term projections
Mega trend analysis: To under stand the broad policy tendencies at the Global/
European/National levels
Synthesis of previous work: Large amount of the work on energy futures exists
including plenty of scenario work (reviewing those scenarios would be useful to
suggest a set of “synthesis scenarios”)
Scenarios: To discover alternative futures on policy developments
SWOT analysis of the regional capabilities against the visionary scenario
Roadmapping: Illustrating the priority areas, the act ions to be taken in long,
medium and short terms and the distribution of initiatives among the actors in
the sector
Policy Recommendations: Policy actions to be taken in the short term
Figure 6.8 illustrates the Policy path to achieve socio-economic and technologi-
cal transformations.
6.6 Discussion
Both cases presented above aimed to demonstrate two applications of the SFM. The
purpose was to explore whether or not there was a practical support for the SFM.
Overall, the cases have revealed that:
Fig. 6.7 Structural path
110 O. Saritas
1. The ideas created in institutional Foresight exercises can be placed within a
systemic framework, once systems with wider boundaries are constructed, are
considered in idea creation, and are shared with the participants and wider
2. The institutional Foresight system can be integrated into the system in which it
operates through the systemic understanding of the external and internal
contexts and the construction of the contents in the Systemic Foresight process
3. Institutional Foresight exercises can be carried out without systematic and
method-bound approaches. The sum of purposeful and coordinated activities
exhibit positive and functionalist characteristics where the pedestrian nature of
the institutional Foresight process is mainly overlooked. Due to their soft
characteristics, interpretive approaches allow for the design for the minimally
bounded exercises and for the development of methodologies, which can reflect
the unique context of the activit y and nature of the issue at hand.
Now, the following section briefly discusses how these three fundamental
propositions of the SFM wer e illustrated.
The ideas created in institutional Foresight exercises can be placed within a
systemic framework, once systems with wider boundaries are constructed, are
considered in idea creation, and are shared with the participants and wider
stakeholders. In both cases, attempts were made to understand how the systems
were constructed as parts of the same upper level system and/or as interacting
systems in the scope of the Construction and Renewable Energy sectors.
Fig. 6.8 Policy path
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 111
The holistic view adopted helped to turn attentions to other external systems and
how they are constructed. The content of the exercises consisted of a model of the
context as a representation of the reality from the perceptions of the two academic
units. Models were used from the beginning of the exercises. Thus, the participants
had representations of the present and future systems. Through these exercis es, the
participants came to a better appreciation that the future success and viability of
their organizations were also dependent upon the other systems. Seeing their
organizations as parts of other larger systems, they were also able to see how
their decisions at the organizational level can have impacts on society and other
external systems.
The systemic models produced were shared also with the external participants
when consultation was needed, for instance via the Construction2023 survey in the
case of PYY and BUIM. The use of similar systemic framework made it possible to
integrate the information coming through external consultation with the ideas
produced in the exercise during the entire process.
Throughout the exercises systems were represented in a relatively diverse forms
such as systemic influence diagrams (e.g. systems-actors-factors representations,
construction scenario systems, value chain systems, and roadmaps) and matrix
forms (e.g. actors-success factors matrix); and in the form of scenarios (e.g.
systemic scenario framework, which led to the development of a number of
scenarios and finally success scenarios). Consequently, the idea creation was
systemic throughout the exercises, and the ideas created were integrated and
connected, and thus were not isolated and fragmented.
The PYY2023 and BUIM2023 Systemic Foresight exercises helped the aca-
demic units to acknowledge their need and desire for the rectification of their
underlying norms, policies and objectives. This was an example of the double-
loop learning”, where fundamental changes in the organizational behaviours and
structures are introduced such as the revealed need for the departmentalization of
the division of PYY. The SFM also suggests that this is a continuous process, which
is congruent with Vickers’s (1965)“Appreciative System”. The first cycle of the
loop was completed with the completion of the exercises, which resulted with a list
of actions to be implemented for the change process. This first cycle should be
followed by other iterations of the SFM to achieve continuous improvement.
Both cases also attempted to provide continuit y and consistency with the other
future oriented efforts at the regional, national and European levels. For this
purpose, the outcomes of the Foresight exercises at these levels were made avail-
able to the participants during the process. The idea was that the outcomes of the
other regional, national and European Foresight exercise would guide decisions
taken at the sectoral level and thus could prevent ‘punctuation’.
The institutional Foresight system can be integrated into the system in
which it operates through the systemic understanding of the external and
internal contexts and the construction of the contents in the Systemic Foresight
process. Both Construction and Renewable Energy sectors were embedded in
various systems including the global, national, industrial and academic systems.
These systems constituted the external contexts for the institutions where the
112 O. Saritas
exercises were conducted. The internal organizations, cultures, values and
behaviours constituted the internal contexts. From the beginning of the Systemic
Foresight exercises, these contexts were considered and incorporated. Due to the
differences in the contexts, the exercises were approached from an interpretive
perspective, where the host organizations were considered as social and living
When the exercises sta rted, the phases of the SFM were introduced to provide a
methodological framework to ensure that the academic units achieve the objectives
and complete the exercises successfully. The processes then evolved and
differentiated through the interplays with contexts and contents. For instance,
different practices emerged in the exercises due to the internal contexts of PYY
and BUIM. The analyses revealed the stro ng impacts of structural and behavioural
factors. In addition, the nature of the different subjects at hand, including PYY’s
construction and management and BUIM’s civil engineering affected the processes.
Systemic representations used, such as the relationships between systems
through their impacts on each other, helped to visualise that PYY and BUIM
were affected by and could affect not only the developments in the construction
sector. Before this activity, it was considered that the construction industry is one of
the most vulnerable the economy and this vulnerability had negative impacts on
PYY and BUIM. However, this activity helped the members of PYY and BUIM to
understand that their success could also correspond to the developments in the
world, other international and national academic systems and in the global con-
struction industry. Consequently, both the sector and academic departments were
not as vulnerable as they considered themse lves agai nst the negative developments
in the national economy and the construction sector.
It is important to emphasize that the impacts of the content on the process was
more predictable compared to the impacts of the behavioural factors, which
revealed only through the process of the exercise.
Institutional Foresight exercises can be carried out without systematic and
method-bound approaches. The sum of purposeful and coordinated activities
exhibit positive and functionalist characteristics where the pedestrian nature
of the institutional Foresight process is mainly overlooked. Due to their soft
characteristics, interpretive approaches allow for the design for the minimally
bounded exercises and for the development of methodologies, which can reflect
the unique context of the activity and nature of the issue at hand. Based on the
assumptions of the SFM, where Foresight is considered as a social and living
process of inquiry, the Systemic Foresight exercises described started with the (i)
Specification of systems, (ii) Identification of external and internal contexts, (iii)
Characterization of the nature of the subject at hand, which then constituted the
content of the exer cise, (iv) Clarification of the goals. In this resp ect, an interpretive
approach was developed which could deal with the unique structural and
behavioural characteristics of organizations.
The formal methods used in the exercises came onto the agenda once the
exercises started to follow the specifica tion of the external and internal contexts
and the contents. Based on the consideration that well-established, procedural and
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 113
prescriptive rules would not be suitable for social and human systems, no
predetermined method was imposed. Consequently, the exercises started with the
basic phases of the SFM. Methods came onto the agenda once an understanding of
the situation was developed and possible solutions were negotiated. Specific
methods were used whenever they were needed. New uses for common methods
were also developed, such as the ‘systemic scena rio development’, which used
interaction diagrams to develop a number of different scena rios for the future.
Table 6.1 shows how quantitative and qualitative methods were selected and used
in the Renewable Energy Foresight exercise in Berlin-Brandenburg based on the
phases of the SFM. The table demonstrates the methods, which served for policy,
technology and structural paths. It is notable that some methods such as scenario
planning can serve for all three purposes.
Both exercises created ideas in systemic frameworks, which prevented fragmen-
tation and punctuation. Focus was given to higher and lower level of systems. The
hierarchy and interrelationships between these systems and their elements were
considered throughout the exercises.
Table 6.1 Methods used in the Renewable Energy Foresight exercise
Phases Methods Technology path Structural path Policy path
Intelligence Scanning ⋆⋆
Literature review
Key indicators ⋆⋆
Stakeholder mapping
System analysis
Imagination Megatrend analysis ⋆⋆
Scenarios ⋆⋆
Weak signals
Integration SWOT analysis ⋆⋆
Delphi survey ⋆⋆
Interpretation Roadmapping
Relevance trees
Strategic planning
Intervention Critical/Key Tech.s
R&D planning
Policy recommendations
Action planning
As mentioned earlier the Renewable Energy project has not been evaluated, therefore the table
does not involve the impact phase
114 O. Saritas
6.7 Conclusions
Institutional Foresight is a combination of technical and thought processes. Tech-
nical process is largely a matter of organising and managing a Foresight exercise as
a ‘systematic’ activity. The SFM suggests that Foresight also involves a set of
‘systemic’ processes, which are about how systems (e.g. human and social syst ems,
industrial/sectoral systems, and innovation systems) are understood, approached
and intervened for a successful change programme. The success of a Foresight
activity will largely depend on how well the technical and thought processes fit and
follow each other. The phases and strands of the SFM provides a conceptual
systemic frame work to provide methodological guidance for the organizers and
practitioners of Foresight. Designing a Systemic Foresight exercise geared to a
specific field and its speci fic nature has three advantages as it:
1. Provides a greater flexibility in dealing with specific issues
2. Leads to the devel opment of diverse and more appropriate approaches in
3. Makes implementation easier as the products (i.e. policies and strategies) would
be more compatible with the nature of the subject at hand
Briefly, the Systemic Foresight claims that:
1. The process of policy creation (means) and policy content (ends) are entirely
2. The content is a determ inant factor for the process
3. The process itself is a conditioni ng factor on what might emerge as content
The SFM suggests an iterative, dynamic and non-linear process for Foresight.
Thus, attentions are turned from individual elements/issues to systems. Attempts
are made to see and understand how systems are constructed and integrated. Then,
models are generated on the future systems and interconnected policies and
strategies are suggested. During this process, the SFM considers the uniqu eness
of systems, which is due to their structures and behaviours. Therefore, the SFM
considers the ‘soft’ characteristics of systems while creating information for society
under uncertainty and complexity.
The discussion on methods comes after clarifying the systems and their
boundaries. The SFM suggests that the contexts in which Foresight lies have
continuously evolving characteristics and are dominated by subjective views.
Therefore, each situation requires a specific methodological appro ach. Last but
not least, the SFM aims to provide a conceptual framework to meet expectations for
inclusivity, transparency and interaction. Fully fledged applications of the SFM are
currently in progress. Among those Energy and Security Foresight exercises for the
University of Manchester; National Research Foresight Programme for Mauritius;
and Foresight for International Natural Fibers Organization (INFO) can be given as
6 Systemic Foresight Methodology 115
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In an uncertain and increasingly interdependent world, cross-sectoral policy foresight is needed to tackle complex phenomena. However, most existing foresight studies have focused on a single sector or domain. This article adopts a systems perspective and explores knowledge creation, capabilities, and relations in a distributed policy foresight system cutting across government sectors and national, regional, and local administrative levels. The article is based on empirical material collected in Finland in 2019, describing the Finnish policy foresight system's existing organizational and systemic foresight capacities. Our results indicate that policy foresight considers relatively narrow future horizons relying heavily on futures knowledge that is accessible in the immediate operating environment. The full potential of foresight is not utilized. Distributed foresight collaboration at the systems level is hindered by lack of coherence, coordination, and collaboration structures. We propose ways to improve the foresight system's performance and point to ecosystem literature as a productive direction for foresight research to further the paradigm of distributed foresight systems.
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در عصرکنونیِ بازار انرژیِ جهان، شناسایی عدم قطعیت‌ها و پیشران‌هاي کليدي اثرگذار بر وضعيت آينده‌ي سيستم موردبرنامه‌ريزي به عنوان جزء لاینفک مطالعات آینده‌پژوهانه در بستر محیط متلاطم و پویای کنونی امری ضروری‌است؛ دراین صنعت تنها برنامه ریزی سنتی و مرسوم حرف نهایی را نمی¬زند، بلکه وضعیت واستراتژي‌هاي سیاسی کشورها، قواعد محيط‌زيستي، فناوری و فناوري آینده و... می توانند نظم بازار انرژی را برهم زنند. برنامه‌ريزي توسعة فضايي مبتني بر صنعت نفت و گاز نيز دچار اين نامعلومي‌ها و عدم قطعيت‌ها خواهد شد. به همین منظور برای شناسايي عدم قطعیت‌ها و نیروهای پیشران اثرگذار بر برنامه‌ريزي فضايي مبتني بر حوزة نفت و انرژی، مطالعات آینده نگاری ضروري است؛ در این میان استان کرمانشاه با وجود ذخایر و پتانسیل های متعدد نفت و گاز باید نسبت به تحولات حوزه ی انرژی حساسیت داشته باشد؛ تا با اتخاذ راهبردهای مناسب در آینده، درصدد توسعه متوازن، افزایش سطح توسعهیافتگی و کاهش عدم تعادل¬های فضایی مرکز-پیرامون، گام بردارد. در این زمینه پژوهش پيشِ رو از روش آینده نگاری به شیوه ی سناریونگاری بهره گرفته است. نخست با مطالعه اسناد ملی و فراملی و کارگاه آينده‌نگاري، 83 پیشران در حوزه صنعت انرژی استخراج شد؛ سپس به روش خوشه بندی، 21 خوشة اصلی شناسایی شد؛ در ادامه با استفاده از ماتریس "اثرگذاری/اثرپذیری" 6 عدم قطعیت کلیدی(بحرانی) شناسايي شد؛ در نهايت نيز با استفاده از روش تحليل اثرات متقابل (CIB) در نرم‌افزار سناريوويزارد به ترسیم آینده های بدیل در سه سناریوی: ناپایداری، آرماني، فعالانه و رقابت پذیر پرداخته شد. با کاربست جوهره ی دانشی ناشی از تصویرسازی این سناریوها، زمینة مناسبی جهت تصمیم گیری ها و برنامه ریزی های پابرجای آتی در استان فراهم مي‌شود.
در عصرکنونیِ بازار انرژیِ جهان، شناسایی عدم قطعیت‌ها و پیشران‌هاي کليدي اثرگذار بر وضعيت آينده‌ي سيستم موردبرنامه‌ريزي به عنوان جزء لاینفک مطالعات آینده‌ پژوهانه در بستر محیط متلاطم و پویای کنونی امری ضروری‌است؛ دراین صنعت تنها برنامه ریزی سنتی و مرسوم حرف نهایی را نمی زند، بلکه وضعیت واستراتژي‌هاي سیاسی کشورها، قواعد محيط‌زيستي، فناوری و فناوري آینده و... میتوانند نظم بازار انرژی را برهم زنند. برنامه‌ريزي توسعة فضايي مبتني بر صنعت نفت و گاز نيز دچار اين نامعلومي‌ها و عدم قطعيت‌ها خواهد شد. به همین منظور برای شناسايي عدم قطعیت‌ها و نیروهای پیشران اثرگذار بر برنامه‌ريزي فضايي مبتني بر حوزة نفت و انرژی، مطالعات آینده نگاری ضروري است؛ در این میان استان کرمانشاه با وجود ذخایر و پتانسیل¬های متعدد نفت و گاز باید نسبت به تحولات حوزه ی انرژی حساسیت داشته باشد؛ تا با اتخاذ راهبردهای مناسب در آینده، درصدد توسعه متوازن، افزایش سطح توسعهیافتگی و کاهش عدم تعادل¬های فضایی مرکز-پیرامون، گام بردارد. در این زمینه پژوهش پيشِ رو از روش آینده نگاری به شیوه ی سناریونگاری بهره گرفته است. نخست با مطالعه اسناد ملی و فراملی و کارگاه آينده‌نگاري، 83 پیشران در حوزه صنعت انرژی استخراج شد؛ سپس به روش خوشه بندی، 21 خوشة اصلی شناسایی شد؛ در ادامه با استفاده از ماتریس "اثرگذاری/اثرپذیری" 6 عدم قطعیت¬کلیدی(بحرانی) شناسايي شد؛ در نهايت نيز با استفاده از روش تحليل اثرات متقابل (CIB) در نرم‌افزار سناريوويزارد به ترسیم آینده های بدیل در سه سناریوی: ناپایداری، آرماني، فعالانه و رقابت پذیر پرداخته شد. با کاربست جوهره¬ی دانشی ناشی از تصویرسازی این سناریوها، زمینة مناسبی جهت تصمیم گیری ها و برنامه ریزی های پابرجای آتی در استان فراهم مي‌شود.
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Forecasts of sea ice evolution in the Arctic region for several months ahead can be of considerable socioeconomic value for a diverse range of marine sectors and for local community supply logistics. However, subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) forecasts represent a significant technical challenge, and translating user needs into scientifically manageable procedures and robust user confidence requires collaboration among a range of stakeholders. We developed and tested a novel, transdisciplinary coproduction approach that combined socioeconomic scenarios and participatory, research-driven simulation gaming to test a new S2S sea ice forecast system with experienced mariners in the cruise tourism sector. Our custom-developed computerized simulation game known as “ICEWISE” integrated sea ice parameters, forecast technology, and human factors as a participatory environment for stakeholder engagement. We explored the value of applications-relevant S2S sea ice prediction and linked uncertainty information. Results suggest that the usefulness of S2S services is currently most evident in schedule-dependent sectors but is expected to increase as a result of anticipated changes in the physical environment and continued growth in Arctic operations. Reliable communication of uncertainty information in sea ice forecasts must be demonstrated and trialed before users gain confidence in emerging services and technologies. Mariners’ own intuition, experience, and familiarity with forecast service provider reputation impact the extent to which sea ice information may reduce uncertainties and risks for Arctic mariners. Our insights into the performance of the combined foresight/simulation coproduction model in brokering knowledge across a range of domains demonstrates promise. We conclude with an overview of the potential contributions from S2S sea ice predictions and from experiential coproduction models to the development of decision-driven and science-informed climate services.
Over the past thirty years, the company and its environment have been the subject of lively academic discussion by several major global schools: the study of national innovation systems, and of the emergence, development and diffusion of innovation; research that analyzes value chains; institutional theory; ecosystem approach; strategic management; forecasting; planning; and foresight to assess current corporate processes and future transformations. The research landscape is still highly fragmented and characterized by several extensive gaps related to an integrated approach to the study of the company, taking into account the global trends, incentives and patterns of behavior of the key stakeholders. The paper presents the results of the research uniting different theoretical approaches on the platform of foresight: a two-loop integral ecosystem model is proposed which takes into account the influence of global trends on internal and external stakeholders of a company, including the empirical survey of more than 260 Russian companies in 2021. A set of practical recommendations for using modern foresight instruments to form, manage and transform the company ecosystem is given. A forecast of possible directions of development is made.
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Following work done in the UK, Canada and now starting across Europe,1 there appears to be renewed interest in charting the boundaries of what to expect between 2010 and 2025 as the character of the 21st century begins to become firmly established. What are the shaping forces, or sources of change and what might be their impacts, particularly where these may create entirely new challenges and opportunities?Futures experts (attendees of the FTA 2008 Conference) were invited to state their opinions on these questions by considering the trends, drivers, wilds cards, discontinuities and weak signals likely to shape the future through the Big Picture Survey. The survey was launched 6 months prior to the Conference. More than 250 responses were submitted by the Conference date. The results collected were synthesised and presented back to the attendees in a plenary presentation by the authors.The current paper aims to clarify the concepts first by suggesting definitions and discussing the distinctions between them. The paper then presents the rationales of conducting the Big Picture Survey (BPS), presents its methodology and discusses the results of the survey in a greater extent.
Taking Complexity Seriously applies the advanced policy analysis technique of triangulation to what is now the world's most complex public policy challenge: sustainable development. One central problem of public policy analysis has been to find new ways of analyzing issues of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Triangulation is perhaps the best example of these novel techniques, as it uses various methods, databases, theories, and approaches to converge on what to do about the complex issue in question. Taking Complexity Seriously uses four different theoretical approaches (Girardian economics, cultural theory, critical theory, and the local justice framework) to triangulation in order to converge on answers to four major policy questions: • What is sustainable development? • Why is it an issue? • What needs to be done? • What can actually be done? These four approaches are used to analyze the sustainable development controversy that recently arose in the pages of Science magazine and the journal Ecological Applications. These different approaches prove highly potent in defamiliarizing conventional wisdom about sustainable development. Ultimately the different approaches will converge on novel answers to the four questions. The practical implications of these conclusions are drawn out at the end of Taking Complexity Seriously in a detailed case study of ecosystem management.
Since the early 1990s interest in foresight has undergone one of its periodic resurgences and has led to a rapid growth in formal foresight studies backed by governments and transnational institutions, including many from the United Nations. However, texts that counterbalance in depth practical experience with an exposition and integration of the many theoretical strands that underpin the art and theory of foresight are rare. Foresight: The Art and Science of Anticipating the Future provides entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, inventors, scientists, politicians, and many others with a succinct, integrated guide to understanding foresight studies and using them as means for strategy development. The text dispels the belief that anticipations are 'mere guesswork', and conveys the depth of thought needed, implicitly or explicitly, to understand human foresight. The book examines: The role of foresight and its institutional counterpart in the modern world, The epistemology underlying foresight, The need to extend foresight activity into wider spheres, including sustainable development, The role that foresight plays in planning processes (including scenario planning). Much of the material in the book is based upon the internationally known foresight course at the Manchester Business School's Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR) formerly PREST, which the author developed and directed from1999 to 2003.
Critical systems thinking and the methodologies associated with it were developed precisely to allow analysis of complex societal problems and intervention to resolve such problems. Early approaches employing systems ideas, such as operational research, systems analysis and systems engineering, were suitable for tackling certain well-defined problems, but were found to have limitations when faced with complex problems involving people with a variety of viewpoints and frequently at odds with one another. Systems thinkers responded with approaches such as system dynamics and organisational cybernetics to tackle complexity; soft systems methodology (SSM) and interactive planning to handle subjectivity; and critical systems heuristics to help the disadvantaged in situations involving conflict. There was a corresponding enlargement of the range of problem contexts in which they felt competent to intervene. It has been critical systems thinking, however, which has supplied the bigger picture, has allowed systems thinking to mature as a discipline and has set out how the variety of methodologies now available can be used together in a coherent manner to promote successful intervention in complex societal problem situations. This paper outlines, at the request of the editor of this special issue, my involvement in developing critical systems thinking and practice, describes its origins, nature and use, and sets out a programme for future research in the area.
Selection and priority setting in technology policies become more and more urgent. Confronted with budget constraints, policy makers need planning methods for well-argued choices. But how can we assess technology fields of particular interest to our countries? Prospective analysis can help us. The author develops an empirical model for foresight studies as a tool in strategic decision making. It is based on a Dutch experiment in recent years and illustrates how several stakeholders in a nation can be mobilized to assess emerging technologies, develop a common field of reference in judging these technologies, and coordinate the joint actions of the actors in this field. Foresight seems to be a rather interactive planning method in which governments have to plan the process rather than the outcome. In reflection on action, the author makes clear that foresight can reduce complexity when it is a process of concerted action in which public and private actors operate as coproducers.