The exercise will require time and commitment from the participants. Therefore, it must be 'legitimated' enough to assure them that they are engaged in a worthwhile endeavour. This legitimation comes from key actors in the field giving their "seal of approval" and from the professionalism of the process and the project team.
Securing adequate political support early on will help ensuring that the exercise is perceived as being worth taking seriously. Key people, potential 'champions' or 'ambassadors', are to be targeted first as they are likely to give the exercise extra momentum and to help put forward the arguments. T his can entail certain risks as well (e.g. it might lead to rivalry, or misplaced expectations from the proposed Foresight exercise).
Foresight exercises that are reliant on the support of one high ranking policy actor could run into problems if this person changes position (e.g. due to elections or the restructuring of a ministry). Also for the sake of a balanced vision and a diversity of perspectives it is advisable to seek support from different policy actors such as different ministries or departments within one ministry. Furthermore, it might be useful not only to look for people concerned with the design of policy but also with the implementation.
Later on, it also implies that the output of the exercise must be followed-up and acted upon. Otherwise, stakeholders will not give you a second chance.
More information about the involvement of policy-makers in the design of a Foresight exercise.
There is more information on securing political support in some of the example cases: