Outcomes of Foresight

Online Foresight Guide

A Foresight exercise usually produces both formal or tangible and informal or intangible outcomes. While formal outcomes are incorporated into products and deliverables, informal outcomes derive from the Foresight process itself.

Formal or tangible outcomes

A formal or tangible outcome or product, is an outcome which has tangible form, for example because it been formalised in one or more documents or (less frequently in the case of Foresight in the public sector) items to be delivered to the client (or sponsor).

A Foresight exercise can produce a wide variety of formal outcomes. Typical tangible "products" are reports, web sites or other types of documents such as films or posters. These outcomes are the result of a systematic process of reasoning about future developments involving a large number of people from different sectors of society. Thus they draw on a wide range of knowledge sources and reflect the diverse reasoning processes of different stakeholders. In many cases, the formal outcome includes recommendations to policy-makers or corporate executives. These kinds of products can be widely disseminated and used as a source for decision making and strategy building by policy organisations or individual citizens.

Formal outcomes from a Foresight exercise typically contain the following elements:

Informal or intangible outcomes

An informal or intangible outcome is an effect or result that adds value but which emerge over the course of the Foresight process and cannot be formalised as deliverables. They include:

The following table gives an overview of varous outcomes which can be expected:


Tangible outcomes

Intangible outcomes


Report, book



Workshops, newsletters, press articles, web sites

Results and evaluation circulating within networks


Institutionalisation of networks

Development of new networks or new links within existing ones

Strategic process

Formal incorporation of results within strategic processes

Informal incorporation of results within strategic processes

Intangible outcomes are by definition more difficult to identify than formal ones but they are considered of equal or sometimes even greater values than formal products. They can be identified in the course of the evaluation (e.g. identifying "success stories" or "good examples") which can serve as examples to inspire others to undertake or act on Foresight activities, and which can be useful benchmarking aids to help identify good practice and encourage its widespread use.

See also:

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