Regional Foresight

Online Foresight Guide

Regional Foresight is Foresight with a territorial focus on a geographical region. It is aiming to inform and orient decisions that are taken at at sub national level. This may be a region of a federal state or a region stretching across several nations. The important thing is for there to be a minimal degree of local identity and political leverage available.

Foresight, as it has emerged in recent years, has mostly manifested itself in the form of large-scale national exercises. However, such national Foresight tends to skate over many issues of central interest to regions. Where it does take up relevant topics, it is often too highly aggregated to give regions enough information to make their own decisions. Regional Foresight can fill this gap, going where national Foresight (if it exists) has held back. It can be justified in its own right as a means of effecting better-informed and future-proofed regional decisions and actions, which is the same rationale behind national Foresight. Also there may be specific challenges on a regional level like supporting regional innovation strategies (FOR-RIS) or transition towards knowledge based communities from traditional industry (UPGRADE). The particular combinations of Foresight tools and techniques that work at national level may not be automatically appropriate at regional level. We can learn from the experience of national Foresight, and from the pioneering exercises in regional Foresight, but we need to be sensitive to the diverse requirements of different regions, and the ways in which national and regional experiences can diverge.

Some key references for regional Foresight are:

Example cases of Regional Foresight



West Midlands (UK)

To support the competitiveness of SMEs by demonstrating Foresight best practice and encouraging emulation.

Nord-Pas de Calais (FR)

To initiate a more strategic approach to the preparation of the council's regional plan.

Province of Liege (BE)

To build a consensual view among experts on the region's prospects for taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Information Society.

Lombardy (IT)

To identify the level of technological competitiveness of the region's most important sectors.


Some more examples of regional Foresight exercises within the table of examples.