Various approaches can be followed to diffuse and disseminate both the preliminary and final results of the exercise. The main formal methods of disseminating Foresight results include:
- Publications (web sites, press articles, if possible radio or TV programmes newsletters, academic publications, reports, databases, etc.)
- Participative events (conferences, workshops, hearings, seminars, meetings, etc.)
- Illustration of Foresight success stories in other contexts.
The exercise's official publications are most commonly produced either by the sponsoring organisation or (with more independence) the Foresight team. Existing media such as journals and newspapers may be mobilised to carry appropriate material.
Such outputs need to be carefully tailored to their intended audiences, and professional skills in preparing the publications appropriate to specific media and audiences are required. It is especially important to keep journalists "on side", since there is a tendency in certain sectors of the media to overemphasise problems and failures.
It is important not to let tangible outputs displace more informal means of communication, and not to assume that getting the results out in the form of publications is more important than more intangible outputs such as improved networks and embedding new knowledge in people's and organisations' practices and approaches to issues. These may be harder to identify and quantify than documentation, but nevertheless represent very important benefits.
As well as the final report, a synthesis of the scenarios or the conclusions in terms of strategic options or the description of the chosen vision could be prepared and more widely disseminated. Although distributing documents of this kind ensures the necessary information is published, it is not always easy to assimilate. It is therefore often useful to organise seminars or meetings with the stakeholders to explain the process and the results.
There is more information on diffusion and dissemination of results in some of the example cases:
Another aspect which should not be overlooked is sharing experience and insights gained on the Foresight process with other (potential) practitioners. Practical knowledge may also emerge during the evaluation phase.
There is more information on diffusing Foresight practice in some of the example cases:
The EFMN as part of your dissemination strategyLike FORLEARN, the EFMN (European Foresight Monitoring Network) is part of the European Foresight Knowledge Sharing Platform. It monitors and maps Foresight activities all over the world. By April 2007 the EFMN had already identified and mapped more than 1700 foresight initiatives in countries as varied as the EU member states, Japan, China and Korea, the US, Canada and Brazil. Rather than waiting that your foresight initiative will be identified in the future, you can add it to the EFMN database as part of your dissemination strategy to increase its visibility and reach. You can submit your initiative to the EFMN, as well as search for initiatives that have been included in the database and check whether your initiative is already listed. You can also write a 4-5 page brief summarising the key facts of your foresight initiative for inclusion in the EFMN briefs section. These briefs are widely read by policy makers as well as foresight practitioners as they convey key information in a concise and accessible way. You can search all briefs published so far.
- Outcomes and benefits of a Foresight exercise