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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Policy-makers should explicitly address choices and values to legitimise their policy orientation.
- 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):