The term “foresight” is often misunderstood and is used to indicate a variety of programmes, exercises, studies and techniques for looking at the future. There have been several national foresight programmes in recent years (including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Japan), usually conducted at government level and carried out for a variety of reasons including the promotion of national R&D and industry competitiveness. Larger business organizations, particularly those with a scientific and technical base, sometimes carry out their own exercises usually as part of longer term strategy, although foresight is possible for smaller organizations too. This article provides a short and simple guide to the foresight process with the specific aim of deriving real value for organizations rather than merely conducting an interesting exercise.
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