Foresight for policy impact - some emerging guidelines


Online Foresight Guide

In order to achieve a better impact of Foresight on policy-making it is necessary to think about “inroads to policy” from different perspectives . Various guidelines for improving Foresight practice and enhancing its impact on policy-making have been highlighted within the Mutual Learning process:

  1. A thorough analysis of the policy context to understand the system in which the exercise is embedded as well as that on which an impact is sought.
  2. Each Foresight exercise needs to explore its room for manoeuvre in shaping the future more diligently. Accepting this restriction will enhance the impact of the exercise within these boundaries.
  3. Policy-makers need to be adequately involved. Their involvement in the design of an exercise should become a real attempt to build trust and mutual understanding instead of the one-way transmission of a static demand. Their involvement in the process should not jeopardize the creativity and independence.
  4. Where a powerful impact on policy strategy building is being aimed for, the linkage with policy implementation needs to be addressed more specifically in the Foresight design, possibly by adding a specific policy-definition phase.
  5. When it is not feasible to move towards policy implementation by adding a policy definition phase, it might be appropriate to present the outcomes in the form of a ‘reservoir’ of options that can be adopted by different actors at different times.
  6. Policy-makers should explicitly address choices and values to legitimise their policy orientation.
  7. A smart communication using up-to-date communication tools and indirect transmission via the involvement of stakeholders and the careful use of media is essential for improving the transmission of information and messages to policy-makers.

The functions of Foresight for policy-making and the guidelines for high-impact are detailed in this paper accepted for publication in "Technology Analysis and Strategic Management" (Volume 20, Issue 3, May 2008):

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