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Do statistics need foresight?

Nikos Kastrinos (European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 9 April 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between foresight and official statistics in the context of sustainability and big-data. The aim is to draw ideas, guidance and lessons on how foresight could help national and international statistical offices deal with an increasingly turbulent and demanding environment.


The paper analyzes the challenges and opportunities posed by big data and sustainability for official statistics.


Drawing on the analysis of the BOHEMIA study – a foresight study launched by the European Commission to support its future policy for research and innovation – the paper proposes elements that could form a foresight programme for statistical offices.


Statistical offices and foresight have been worlds apart. The need to engage with each other is a recent and interesting phenomenon.



All views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission or engage it in any manner.A previous version of this paper was presented to a Eurostat project on power from statistics. The author is grateful to Heiko Prange-Gstoehl, Nathalie Vercruysse, Pauline Bickley and to the anonymous referee for their comments and suggestions, and to Martina Hahn and Martin Karlberg for their encouragement. Needless to say all responsibility for errors, omissions and in general all views expressed in the paper lies with the author.


Kastrinos, N. (2018), "Do statistics need foresight?", Foresight, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 137-149.



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