A variety of definitions of Foresight have been proposed, each emphasising different aspects of the process or its results.
Foresight involves systematic attempts to look into the future of science, technology, society and the economy, and their interactions, in order to promote social, economic and environmental benefit.
Foresight arises from a convergence of trends underlying recent developments in the fields of "policy analysis", "strategic planning" and "future studies". It brings together key agents of change and various sources of knowledge in order to develop strategic visions and anticipatory intelligence.
Foresight is a natural human activity that companies and individuals have always practised. However, it is now used in a formalised way as a viable policy tool by governments, regional organisations and others to help frame policy for science and technology, and to address wider concerns affecting social aspirations. How a Foresight activity is created, managed and interpreted has a profound influence on its success. Foresight involves constructively bringing awareness of long-term challenges and opportunities into more immediate decision-making. Foresight can be implemented so as to provide valuable inputs to strategy and policy planning in regions, municipalities or localities, as well as to mobilise collective strategic actions.
A universal human capacity which allows people to think ahead and consider, model, create and respond to, future eventualities. Founded on the rich and inclusive environment of the human brain-mind system which, crudely put, has sufficiently complex neural 'wiring' to support an extended mode of perception whose main functions are protective and facilitating. Modelled most clearly in everyday acts such as: driving, crossing a busy road and planning a holiday. It is a springboard for a wide range of futures methodologies, organisational developments and social innovations.
Foresight is the systematic consideration of, and action on, the future.
Ron Johnston, Australian Center For Innovation