Overall objectives of communication
Fostering/encouraging an actor-oriented and participatory approach in the Foresight exercise: communication with interested parties generates useful discussion and brings in valuable information and analysis.
- Establishing a science-society dialogue: the engagement of non-scientific knowledge, values and preferences in the Foresight process through social discourse improves the quality of the exercise by giving access to a wider range of perspectives and options.
- Enabling a process of mutual learning.
The communication strategy and foresight process run in parallel: that interactions between stakeholders which occur throughout the Foresight process, together with expert input (externalisation), trigger a learning process involving exchange of knowledge and/or information which is consolidated through network building and enhanced stakeholder engagement.
The communication strategy
The communication strategy, if well-planned and implemented, provides a good reflection of the main thrust of the Foresight exercise. This will be transmitted to those involved or targeted by the exercise using various media over the lifecycle of the project, from start-up to implementation and diffusion. An implicit objective of a Foresight exercise is the learning and unlearning it generates in terms of policy transfer, formulation and implementation. A well-designed communications strategy moves beyond one-way reporting of the work underway and is more specifically oriented towards generating a high degree of interaction and learning among all those involved in the exercise or in some way addressed by it.
The Communications Strategy described here is tailored to a typical national Foresight exercise, and would therefore need to be adapted for a more trans-national collaborative exercise, or for an exercise at regional or sectoral level to include specific strategies for the exchange of expertise and collaboration in joint projects/programmes between the partner countries/regions. A trans-national or regional dimension strongly influences the dynamics of the Communication Strategy and should be given due attention.
There is more information on communication strategies in some of the example cases:
- Why is communication so important to the success of a Foresight exercise?
- What kind of information needs to be communicated in Foresight exercise?
- How can communications be designed in a Foresight exercise?
- How to profile stakeholders?
- How can communication be tailored to various target groups?
- When is the right time to communicate?
- Who is involved in the communication process?