Once the main tasks of the Foresight exercise have been completed, a number of follow-up activities are required to ensure that the results are used effectively and all possible lessons are learned and passed on to future exercises.
These activities may include:
- Disseminating the results
- Evaluating the effectiveness of the exercise
- Turning Foresight into an ongoing activity
All too often, insufficient thought is given to the action to be taken following the Foresight exercise. In many cases this has led to implementation gaps (i.e. recommendations have been prepared, but there has been no mechanism to check whether they have been implemented; networks that were working productively have been allowed to dissolve). Making the results of the exercise known to a wide audience and passing them on to future exercises is a key part of achieving full implementation.
The evaluation of ongoing or completed Foresight exercises, their processes, products, and outcomes, is essential to ensure accountability, the credibility of the activity and to demonstrate to potential clients that Foresight is a worthwhile investment.
All Foresight exercises lead to a report, but a synthesis of the scenarios or the conclusions in terms of strategic options or the description of the vision or project decided upon needs to be more widely disseminated. Passing on good practice requires more than just distributing the exercise's documentation.
In recent years, there has been a shift from one-off studies towards more continuous iterations of the process of envisioning future challenges and opportunities. Although making Foresight an ongoing activity brings with it the risk of 'bureaucratising' Foresight, there are ways to avoid this and so sustain its value.