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Foresight, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1993

DAVID ELLIS, DEBORAH COX and KATHERINE HALL

The information seeking patterns of a group of research physicists and research chemists were analysed and the key features of those patterns identified. The aim was to…

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Abstract

The information seeking patterns of a group of research physicists and research chemists were analysed and the key features of those patterns identified. The aim was to use a similar methodology to that employed in a previous study of the information seeking activities of a group of social scientists and to effect a comparison between the information seeking patterns of the scientists and the social scientists. The information seeking patterns were derived from interviews with physicists at Manchester University and chemists at the University of Sheffield. The methodology adopted for the interviews and analysis was qualitative and based on the grounded theory approach. The results were then compared with the findings of the previous study of the social scientists to try and identify similarities and differences between the two groups. Certain minor variations concerned with awareness levels of facilities, the extent of usage of a source and the research stage at which a strategy may be employed were identified. Nonetheless, fundamental differences in information seeking behaviour could not be determined. Finally, the extent to which developments in electronic communication have had any impact on the information or communication patterns of the scientists and social scientists is considered.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 49 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Daniela Sangiorgi

The aim of this work is to provide an initial picture of how some design agencies are contributing toward a paradigm shift and how they are developing in the future to…

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this work is to provide an initial picture of how some design agencies are contributing toward a paradigm shift and how they are developing in the future to better inform design policies and interdisciplinary work. There is a general agreement that the current government and public sector structure and modes of operation need radical transformation. In this scenario, a shift from New Public Management towards New Public Governance paradigm has been auspicated. Design has attracted attention as a potential approach to support this transformation, but research into Service Design, as well as discussions on its future development, for public sector innovation is limited. This paper is an exploratory study into the individual work of seven representative UK design agencies operating for and within the public sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews literature on public sector reform and innovation to inform comparative studies of contemporary design agencies working for public sector reform. Interviews with seven designers from NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, Participle, Innovation Unit, Uscreates, Collaborative Change, Futuregov and Snook are conducted to review their perceived role for public sector reform, their design approaches, exemplar projects and main challenges.

Findings

Emerging design strategies for Public Sector reform are: a collaborative design approach that considers all stakeholders as equal co-creators of public value; operating at different complementary levels to aim at systemic change; designing from the inside out (innovation culture) and outside in (market change). These different strategies imply the development of possible different business models. Existing creative tensions appear between embedding and outsourcing strategies, acting as facilitators vs designers, developing both designing and service delivery roles.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is based on a limited sample of design agencies, and it is not a systematic study into the impact of their design work, which should be the object of a following study.

Practical implications

This paper brings Service Design practice into public sector innovation debate to inform future interdisciplinary research and innovation policies. It positions existing design innovation strategies within the wider picture of public sector reform to support a more informed design practice.

Originality/value

Few studies have looked at the UK design agencies for public sector innovation and discussed their possible future developments. This paper provides an original and holistic description of design for public sector innovation with considerations on how it should be interpreted when developing supporting innovation and design policies.

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Foresight, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2011

Katharine E. Barker, Deborah Cox and Thordis Sveinsdottir

The aim of this paper is to describe and evaluate the use of a five‐step foresight process and the application of scenario methods to grasp the range of future

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to describe and evaluate the use of a five‐step foresight process and the application of scenario methods to grasp the range of future alternatives that might confront researchers and research managers in European metrology research institutes. The sector is to be examined as a part of a larger study that aims to reflect on the potential future roles for the public research institutes, in several sectors (the other sectors in the study included civil space, plant science, geosurveys, and marine), towards the development of the European Research Area (ERA).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper illustrates how scenario methods were used to, first, serve as a basis for policy recommendations for the field of European metrology research institutes and, second, help experts and stakeholders to network and actively discuss a shared vision of the future of the field.

Findings

This case demonstrates the need for proactive strategic management which goes well beyond the institutional boundary, into national policy and European decision making. As other areas of European research begin to think about the importance of European cooperation, lessons can be drawn from the experience of this particular sector. The process of looking forward took on board the political context and allowed participants and the researchers to think beyond these boundaries.

Research limitations/implications

Although this is a pioneering study, there is a danger that some inputs may not have been captured. The results build on the input of a limited number of experts only and on the literature available in the public domain. There were few participants discussing the future of a vast field of research and this may mean that important input has not been captured. Time limitations in the workshops necessarily limit the scope for experts and policy makers to engage with the concepts. Follow‐up activities based on the research outputs are required for the findings to go forward.

Practical implications

Bringing together different stakeholders for shaping a shared vision through scenario workshops led to rich interactions and creative thinking. The workshops created a space for experts to consider policy options for reforming and making better use of the institutes in building the ERA.

Originality/value

Using scenario workshops for foresight research results as an opportunity for stakeholders to visualise different futures for metrology research within Europe. The public research institute sector tends to be more generally under‐studied as a component of modern innovation systems. We evaluate and show that the foresight process is an appropriate methodology to look at what is inherently a political process at the implementation level.

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Foresight, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Effie Amanatidou, Giorgos Gritzas and Karolos Iosif Kavoulakos

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the emergence, operation and features of the time banks that were created during the recent financial crisis in Greece as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the emergence, operation and features of the time banks that were created during the recent financial crisis in Greece as grass-roots initiatives of different communities, and to examine their relation to the concept of “co-production” and possible relevance to foresight. Time banks are particularly interesting for the future of services: they address all sorts of services while the time-bank “value” of these different types of services does not necessarily reflect their actual value in the free market; impacts may spread from the mere coverage of people’s needs, to increased social capital and community empowerment; and some scholars consider them as flexible forms of co-production, or even as enablers of wider social change. The purpose of the paper is to examine the emergence, and features of the time banks created during the recent financial crisis in Greece as grass-roots initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary information and data were gathered through eight extensive face-to-face interviews with key members of the four time banks based on a semi-structured questionnaire. The methodology also included desk research and review of the information included in time banks’ websites. The selection of these four time banks was based on the fact that they are the most active ones in Athens, which is the capital of the country gathering around 40 per cent of the Greek population and presenting the severest consequences of the financial crises in terms of unemployment, poverty, shutdown of businesses, share of people with no insurance, etc.

Findings

Based on a specific analytical framework summarising the available literature, the Greek time banks are compared with each other but also in relation to the findings in the literature, where some interesting differences emerge. The paper also explores the role that foresight can plan in the development of alternative initiatives like time banks. The interesting conclusion is that foresight can help time banks as much as time banks can help foresight in upgrading its processes to deal with challenges of the twenty-first century.

Research limitations/implications

The research focuses on the four most active time banks in Athens. While this selection is justified, future research would be good to include all the time banks in Greece.

Social implications

The paper explores how time banks in Greece emerged as well as how they can further develop. This is of direct relevance to society as time banks are by default a community initiative.

Originality/value

Time banks in Greece have not been previously studied. Second, time banks in general were never linked to approaches like foresight. This becomes increasingly important in examining possible approaches toward more sustainable and resilient societies.

Details

Foresight, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Kirsi Hyytinen and Marja Toivonen

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the future prospects of innovative services linked to sustainable energy systems.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the future prospects of innovative services linked to sustainable energy systems.

Design/methodology/approach

Service perspective is examined in the context of socio-technical transition and linked to the bottom-up and top-down social processes that foster sustainability. The foresight method applied is trend analysis.

Findings

Two groups of trends were identified: the trends driven by technological development and the trends focussing on societal, managerial and consumer issues. The former consists of renewable energy sources, hybrid solutions, smart grids and smart energy markets. The latter involves distributed energy production, demand response, optimisation of sustainability and the role of energy as an opportunity and as service. The study reveals that energy is increasingly understood as a comprehensive and tailor-made service solution for communities and individual households. Consumers will enter the energy market as active participants; it raises the need for many types of services.

Research limitations/implications

Deepening of understanding is required in several topics of this study, and more formal methods of foresight are needed to test the generalisability of its qualitative results.

Practical implications

More effective policy measures are needed for fostering new services and social and system innovations in the area of sustainable energy. Innovation management practices should be developed in these areas.

Originality/value

The paper aims to narrow the research gap linked to foresight in services by examining services in the area of sustainable energy systems – one of the “grand challenges” today.

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Alicja Mikołajewicz-Woźniak and Anna Scheibe

The purpose of the paper is to determine the future role of virtual currencies. This paper indicates their pros and cons as alternatives to “real” money and explains their…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to determine the future role of virtual currencies. This paper indicates their pros and cons as alternatives to “real” money and explains their appearance as the reflection of the present trends. It also presents the possible scenarios of their development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on the former foresight research results and literature review. It highlights the main trends in contemporary economy and their impact on financial services. The Bitcoin case is the starting point for the virtual currencies’ market analysis and construction of possible market changes scenarios.

Findings

Virtual currency schemes are the reflection of present trends. They are just ahead of our times but may become a common means of payment, changing the way of providing financial services, eliminating intermediaries and marginalizing the role of financial institutions.

Research limitations/implications

The multiplicity of virtual currencies and ceaseless introduction of innovations impede the presentation of the complete market picture. The lack of reliable statistical data makes the estimation of the market growth difficult.

Practical implications

This paper indicates influence of technology development, virtualization and networking on payment systems’ functioning.

Social implications

This paper shows the impact of environmental changes on consumers’ acceptance of virtual currencies.

Originality/value

The virtual currency as a payment system is quite new and still a marginalized phenomenon. Nevertheless, the pace of virtual currency market growth after its recent introduction and appearance of Bitcoin successors seems to be the signs of future changes in financial service sector.

Details

Foresight, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1998

Rebecca Boden, Philip Gummett, Deborah Cox and Kate Barker

The technology of so‐called new public management (NPM) in the UK encompasses a broad range of approaches to the reform of public services based loosely around notions of…

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1349

Abstract

The technology of so‐called new public management (NPM) in the UK encompasses a broad range of approaches to the reform of public services based loosely around notions of downsizing the State, cost‐cutting, marketisation, competition and emphasis on the reform of accounting within the Government. NPM has been utilised in the reform of the old public sector science and technology laboratories. This paper sets out the reasons why the provision of science and technology services may be a discrete area of public service, not necessarily amenable to NPM. It then charts the development of policy and practice in this area, using actual examples of agencification and privatisation. Finally it offers a tentative evaluation of the manifestations of NPM in this area concentrating on ownership, control and accountability; markets and customers; and financial costs and rewards.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Annukka Näyhä, Päivi Pelli and Lauri Hetemäki

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and provide a synthesis of how services are understood, how they are likely to develop and how future development can be studied…

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2365

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and provide a synthesis of how services are understood, how they are likely to develop and how future development can be studied more closely in the forest-based sector (FBS). Services are likely to have an increasing role in the FBS in the future.

Design/methodology/approach

The findings are based on a literature review of FBS outlook studies, strategies and programs and services-related studies in FBS and general services literature. Three case examples of services businesses in FBS companies are presented, and possible foresight approaches related to them are discussed. Foresight methods used in parallel sectors are also discussed.

Findings

The study provides the first systematic introduction, classification and review of FBS services to include both industry- and non-industry-related services. The paper also points out the need for foresight studies and suggests various approaches for an analysis of the potential of FBS services in the future bioeconomy.

Practical implications

The study shows that the role of services in FBS research has been understood too narrowly. As a result, services research has been rather lacking and the future potential of services in the FBS has not been fully acknowledged. The study argues for and points toward the need to use foresight approaches to update FBS strategies, business models and policies to fully benefit from the future potential of services.

Originality/value

The study is a novel introduction, review and discussion of the role of services in the FBS and their future outlook.

Details

Foresight, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 November 2019

Walter R. Erdelen and Jacques G. Richardson

This paper aims to discuss the history of human migration till the present day.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss the history of human migration till the present day.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyze the human movement from pre-hominid times, forming patterns of existence. Thus, ambient sun and water, weather and climate extremes, shelter, food supply, natural or human-made disasters gave rise to Homo sapiens’ wanderlust.

Findings

Despite obstacles, formidable barriers and even perilous deterrents, the species explored and exploited new soils and waters, whether beneficial or destructive of nature’s ample providence.

Originality/value

The authors treat societal as well as individual action, cultural behavior and the emergence of economic anthropology. Migratory legislation and regulation now risk transformation into resentment and then xenophobia.

Details

foresight, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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