“Informing policy” refers to the supply of anticipatory knowledge or “intelligence” such as the dynamics of change, future challenges, risks and opportunities, strengths and weaknesses of the current system for addressing these, visions for change and possible options. The aim is to improve the knowledge base for thinking about and designing policy. Furthermore the provision of a wide range of new ideas stemming from a creative process which activates a diverse range of knowledge sources is an important aspect of informing policy.
“Informing policy” has long been considered the core function of Foresight and its outcomes are traditionally synthesised into formal products such as reports. As well as direct policy recommendations such as priority lists and action plans these products may comprise information contributing to policy design in a more indirect way, such as scenarios of possible future developments, roadmaps towards different possible futures, lists of critical technologies or descriptions of visions of desirable futures.