Deploying Foresight for Policy and Strategy Makers: Creating Opportunities Through Public Policies and Corporate Strategies in Science, Technology and Innovation
This book develops foresight techniques to turn future societal challenges into opportunities. The authors present foresight approaches for innovation policy and management. Future developments in fields such as education, energy, new materials, nanotechnologies are highlighted for different countries. Readers will discover tools and instruments to capture the potentials of the grand societal challenges as defined by the United Nations. This book is a valuable resource for researchers and scholars with an interest in foresight methods and gives practical hints for policy makers and managers to take account of the grand opportunities in their business and policy strategies.
Science, technology and innovation (STI) involves numerous policy fields which are championed by different government ministries or agencies. A consistent and coherent anticipatory policy mix is understood to be one that ensures a timely development and implementation of various forward-looking policy instruments. Such timely implementation is crucial for the eventual impact of the policy measures. This also requires that foresight for STI policies looks beyond the potential development paths and challenges but includes the time dimension and the outline of necessary policy responses including a relevant implementation framework. In addition the institutions which are part of the National Innovation Systems (NIS) should to be considered thoroughly for a well-balanced and comprehensive policy mix. Not only national but also regional and local actors need to be involved—and they need to be involved not only in the implementation of policy but at much earlier stages in the foresight and subsequent design procedures of the policy mix. One practical approach for convincing and engaging NIS actors at different levels is to stress opportunities which offer advantages to each of them, instead of just focusing on challenges and problems.
Technology diffusion is a central element in the increasing innovation and technology competition by companies and countries. Accordingly policy makers are extending their understanding of science, technology and innovation policy beyond the initial support of technology and innovation development and begin to focus more on the actual application hence diffusion potential of innovations. The history of fuel cells is a prominent example which shows how long time a technology might need to diffuse into broad application. The reasons for delayed diffusion and market penetration are manifold as the example shows. Besides the purely technology induced problems the technology is confronted with resistance by a broader stakeholder community. For producers, hence innovators, it’s important to learn the obvious but also the hidden agendas of stakeholders at early stages of technology development already.
The paper argues that diffusion of technology and innovation is strongly influenced by stakeholders. These have their own strategic intend which isn’t necessarily communicated openly. Eventually these hidden strategic intends turn out to become major potential obstacles to diffusion of technology and innovation. Therefore it’s important to include the strategic intend of stakeholders early in the development of technology and innovation at least to the extent to which these intends are recognizable.
Foresight has gained much attention as a tool for developing and informing science, technology and innovation policy and company strategies. It is frequently used for detecting not only potential development paths of technologies but also possible economic and societal changes; and for identifying challenges that nations, societies and companies might face in the future. Raising awareness within the respective communities of trends and challenges is critically important—and the biggest challenge is how we can develop measures to meet these anticipated challenges. Paradoxically, perhaps, it may be more helpful for creating and implementing successful measures if these are elaborated by thinking about grasping opportunities, rather than framing them in terms of threats that have to be responded to. Accordingly there is a need to change the mindsets in science, technology and innovation policy making—and to engender solution and opportunity orientation among scientists and engineers.
Monitoring trends is a key requirement for national and corporate policy makers to stay up-to-date with socio-economic and technological transformations, to anticipate emerging developments at the global and local levels, and to use this intelligence to prioritize areas for innovation and investment. This chapter aims at discussing how the results of trend monitoring can be integrated into the process of Science, Technology and Innovation policy formulation and business Research & Development planning processes. The chapter starts with an overview of the relevant innovation literature that gives a background in a broader theoretical context, where the technology monitoring activities can be better justified conceptually. This background provides to generate two models, which will portray positioning and functioning of Global Trend Monitoring in the policy and business planning process. Some practical aspects of how and in what form the results of Global Trend Monitoring should be provided to the target communities of policy makers and business planners are elaborated throughout the chapter.