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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Alan Clardy

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the results of futures studies are knowledge or if not, what it is that futures studies actually produce. Five types of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the results of futures studies are knowledge or if not, what it is that futures studies actually produce. Five types of representations of the future are the result of these studies. As the value of futures studies depends on no small measure of their credibility, the standards for carrying out and reporting these studies are identified along with a description of how Toulmin’s model of informal logic can be used to best improve their credibility.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a multi-disciplinary literature review and integrative analysis.

Findings

Using epistemological criteria for knowledge as truth, belief and rationale, the results of futures studies are not and cannot be knowledge. Instead, futures studies produce five kinds of “representations of the future”: predictions, projections and forecasts, scenarios, visions and structures for action. Six standards for conducting and reporting the results of futures studies are provided which will increase the credibility of these studies. Toulmin’s informal logic format will provide the foundation for the most persuasive basis of such studies.

Practical implications

Futurists will understand that the products of their studies are not knowledge and why this is the case. They will also understand that the type of futures studies they are conducting are either conditional, contingent propositions or normative prescriptions in nature. There are six guidelines for carrying out and reporting futures studies which can also be used to assess the quality of published studies. They will see how the use of a certain kind of informal logic can establish the most credible foundations for their studies.

Originality/value

As an integrative literature review, it incorporates and simplifies widely disparate existing contributions to the topic of the nature of knowledge regarding futures studies and the criteria for making such studies as credible as possible.

Details

foresight, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2021

Evangelos Psomas

Many future research proposals of Lean Manufacturing (LM) are presented in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to determine these future research proposals of LM…

Abstract

Purpose

Many future research proposals of Lean Manufacturing (LM) are presented in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to determine these future research proposals of LM which are country-related and classify them.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review (SLR) of peer-reviewed journal articles in LM was conducted. A total of 145 articles published in 34 journals during 2010–2020 were collected from four major management science publishers namely, Emerald Online, Elsevier/Science Direct, Springer Link and Taylor and Francis. The country-related future research proposals of LM identified in the literature were classified according to, firstly, the continent of the country of reference, and secondly, some form of natural affinity of these proposals creating meaningful themes. The quality tool “affinity diagram” was applied to classify the country-related future research proposals of LM.

Findings

The country-related future research proposals of LM, which are increasing in the literature over time, refer mostly to studies to be conducted in several continents/countries and to multinational studies. Conducting studies specifically in Asia, Europe, South and North America, Africa and Australia–New Zealand is also suggested. The plethora of the country-related future research proposals of LM were classified, based on the affinity of their content, into 18 meaningful themes. These themes were also classified based on their affinity into two broad categories, namely “themes concerning the LM approach itself” and “themes concerning factors outside the LM approach”.

Research limitations/implications

The restricted number of the databases searched and the subjectivity of classifying the large number of the country-related future research proposals into themes are the main limitations of the present SLR. Based on these limitations, future literature review studies can be carried out.

Practical implications

Useful proposals are provided to researchers of several countries for conducting original and country-specific research studies which can enrich the knowledge of the implementation of LM under the specific circumstances of a country for the benefit of practitioners.

Originality/value

This study goes beyond previous literature review studies on LM by focusing exclusively on the LM future research agenda which is country related. The analytical presentation of the country-related future research proposals as well as the formulation of clusters of these proposals make the present SLR study substantially different from those carried out worldwide so far.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Saija Toivonen

The purpose of this paper is to study the user experiences of the futures wheel method to investigate its suitability to advance futures thinking in the real estate field.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the user experiences of the futures wheel method to investigate its suitability to advance futures thinking in the real estate field.

Design/methodology/approach

The user experiences of the futures wheel method are investigated through questionnaire answers of 114 master’s level students and real estate experts taking part in future wheel workshops.

Findings

The futures wheel method could enhance future-oriented thinking and decision-making in the real estate field. The respondents see futures thinking as an important skill and recognize several advantages concerning the method.

Practical implications

The futures wheel method bears great potential to be used in the real estate sector and it could be a fruitful addition to the curriculums at different education levels in real estate studies.

Social implications

Futures thinking is essential when aiming for sustainable decisions in the real estate field which again would benefit the whole surrounding society.

Originality/value

This paper is the first published paper concentrating on the user experiences of the future wheel method in the real estate sector. The benefits and the disadvantages of the method are investigated but also the attitudes indicating the potential of the method to be successfully adopted in the field are analyzed.

Details

Journal of European Real Estate Research , vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-9269

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Article
Publication date: 3 March 2020

Mohammad Reza Fathi, Mohammad Hasan Maleki, Seyed Mohammad Sobhani and Can Deniz Koksal

The purpose of this study is to formulate exploratory scenarios of Operations Research through the critical uncertainty approach and Soft Systems Methodology.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to formulate exploratory scenarios of Operations Research through the critical uncertainty approach and Soft Systems Methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, to formulate plausible scenarios, the discipline of operation research internal and external experts’ opinions of this field have been gathered through Delphi approach and uncertainty questionnaires. After use of the most important uncertainties, plausible scenarios of operations research have been mapped with the help of experts through co-thinking workshops.

Findings

Four scenarios are presented in this study. These scenarios include Solar System, Esfandiar's Eye, Rival’s Setraps and Legendary Simurgh. Naturally, the imagination of such a unitary future for all academic communities is an expectation far from reality, and given the conditions of each of these futures or any integration of them is imaginable.

Originality/value

Operations Research models have been faced with variously multiple changes since its emergence until now. Investigation into the future of operations research on the necessity for his planning has not received a reasonable notice in the literature. Sporadic activities that have been carried out are also lacking in the necessary methodology. Also, there has been no research about future study using the soft Operation Research tools (Soft Systems Methodology).

Details

foresight, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2010

Martijn van der Steen, Mark van Twist, Maarten van der Vlist and Roger Demkes

This paper aims to argue that utilising foresight becomes a more useful tool to organisational management, if the innovative technique of “creative competition” is

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to argue that utilising foresight becomes a more useful tool to organisational management, if the innovative technique of “creative competition” is applied. In an empirical analysis, it seeks to show how the technique of creative competition was used in a scenario‐project. The case study shows how and why the technique of creative competition “worked”. These findings will then be used to explore the broader application of creative competition in organisational foresight.

Design/methodology/approach

The study first elaborates theoretically on the difference between “forecast” and “foresight” and explores how the addition of the organisational dimension to these terms changes their meanings. It then focuses on the organisation that commissioned the study – Rijkswaterstaat – and describes its history with respect to exploring the future and certain other relevant contextual elements of the case study, such as how the project was organised. After that, it conceptualises the RWS2020 project as an example of using “organisational foresight” and discusses the concept of “creative competition” as a means of bringing “organisation” and “foresight” closer together. The paper then describes what creative competition was used in the case, how it worked in the case study, and how “the game” of creative competition was played. It formulates conclusions on the basis of this case study and then reflects on the findings.

Findings

Application of creative competition adds to the integration of foresight in organizational management and organizational change. It supports a more future orientedness in strategic management. Further analysis of other cases is needed to further strengthen theory about application of the method of creative competition.

Originality/value

The technique of creative competition is relatively new and has not been theorized as yet. Organizational foresight has been used as a concept, but has hardly been theorized and empirically tested as well. The paper does both, in an exploratory way. It provides interesting insight into the working of organizational foresight for both academics and practitioners, and identifies strategic choices for managers conducting organizational foresight studies with or without the use of creative competition.

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2020

Katherine Prince

This paper reflects on the author’s experience of an education foundation’s developing a robust and nationally recognized futures studies practice over a period of 14…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reflects on the author’s experience of an education foundation’s developing a robust and nationally recognized futures studies practice over a period of 14 years. In so doing, this paper aims to inform other futures studies practitioners about the kinds of considerations that can be encountered, and which must be managed, in starting, developing and maintaining a futures studies practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Organized around KnowledgeWorks’ triennial forecasts on the future of learning, the paper takes a narrative approach to describe the organization’s and the author’s future studies journeys, examining ways in which organizational learning and dynamics, as well as audience reception, affected the relative success of the study.

Findings

The paper begins by describing KnowledgeWorks’ excitement when publishing its first forecast on the future of education as a client of the institute for the future put KnowledgeWorks on the national map. It goes on to examine the organization’s capacity development in learning how to engage education audiences in exploring the future of learning, situating the study in the field of futures studies and developing internal capacity and thought leadership in the field. The paper concludes by reflecting on key aspects of KnowledgeWorks’ organizational learning; the organization’s leadership, moment and culture; and the author’s professional development journey.

Originality/value

The paper will help other future studies practitioners, along with organizations interested in considering investing in futures studies, anticipate considerations that could help them strengthen their practice or set up their organizational investment for success.

Details

On the Horizon , vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 2 April 2015

K.A. Chatha and I. Butt

A literature review within the manufacturing strategy (MS) discipline with a focus on thematic developments is provided. Based on recent studies, a set of challenges posed…

Abstract

Purpose

A literature review within the manufacturing strategy (MS) discipline with a focus on thematic developments is provided. Based on recent studies, a set of challenges posed to manufacturing enterprise of the future are summarized, and thematic areas are analyzed in relation to meeting those challenges. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a select set of 506 articles published in top-ranked refereed international journals in the discipline of operations management, major and subthemes are identified and the publication trends in these themes are provided with time and across geographical regions, namely: North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.

Findings

MS literature is predominantly focussed on the economic objectives of firms without a due focus on the social and environmental perspectives. MS literature covers 11 major thematic areas, namely: MS components and paradigms, manufacturing capabilities (MCs), strategic choices (SCs), best practices (BPs), the strategy process (SP), supply-chain management (SCM), performance measurement, transnational comparisons, global manufacturing, environmental/green manufacturing, and literature reviews. The research in two areas – SCs, and MCs – has been in decline, while the research in BPs, the SP, and transnational comparisons is growing (in absolute figures). Various research opportunities for future studies are identified.

Research limitations/implications

The literature review is limited in its selection of articles and journals, however, the identified trends clarify the state of research by the MS research community at large.

Practical implications

For researchers, multiple new research directions are identified in order to advance knowledge in the field of MS. The publication trends also highlight thematic areas where most of the MS body of knowledge is currently available and can be utilized by practitioners.

Originality/value

The paper’s novelty comes from: first, a broader and deeper review of thematic areas that has not been researched before, second, trends in thematic areas by time, across geographical regions, and including time-region dyads, and third, coverage provided by MS literature in meeting challenges posed to manufacturing enterprise of the future.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2018

Evi De Bruyne and Doranne Gerritse

The purpose of this paper describes the set-up and results of the “futures forum” study. Through different methodological approaches, the future of work and its…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper describes the set-up and results of the “futures forum” study. Through different methodological approaches, the future of work and its implications for the future (physical) workplace are explored. What will our office workplace look like in 2025 and how best to support future work, in alignment with the different organisational support services [human resources, information technology (IT), facility management and real estate]?

Design/methodology/approach

Different stakeholders were involved through different methods. First, a global literature study summed up some of the contemporary views on future directions and future studies. Second, focus groups were held with office end-users and employees of 11 participating organisations. Third, a Delphi study was applied to a multidisciplinary expert group. And finally, results were further developed in a “pre-design” workshop. The “forum” refers to the consortium of private and public partners that supported the study. The research involved large (>1,000 employees) knowledge-based and administrative organisations.

Findings

The fast-developing digitalisation will have substantial repercussions for work processes and environments. New types of work and work processes are appearing and need to be accommodated. Work will be organised in a more dynamic manner to adapt to the rapid changes in the market. Automation will lead to a continuous decrease of administrative processes which leaves more complex, knowledge-intensive work in organisations. Digitalisation and technology will lead to new ways of working and other necessary capabilities in the organisation with great emphasis on IT and technology-based activities. This dynamic environment brings the demand for an agile response of the support services in the organisation and a work environment that can accommodate changes easily. The main findings centre around eight themes for the future workplace that were considered to be the main, joint priorities of support services. These themes are changes in work, move towards digitalisation, adaptive potential of organisations, liberation of old structures, attract and retain employees, self-employment and self-marketing and future employee needs. Because of the dimensions of the research topic, a broad thematic perspective was applied so a further in-depth exploration might be valuable. The stakeholders that were involved in the data collection were mostly contacted through research partners, which might narrow research findings.

Originality/value

Many “future studies” have been taken place in the past, and they all apply a different research scope. This study aimed specifically at large office organisations in The Netherlands and on the implications for the future workplace that are to be addressed in a communal way by the organisations’ support services.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2020

Annukka Näyhä

In Finland, new forest-based sector (FBS) businesses are seen as important for the transition to the circular bioeconomy. The purpose of this study is to explore the…

Abstract

Purpose

In Finland, new forest-based sector (FBS) businesses are seen as important for the transition to the circular bioeconomy. The purpose of this study is to explore the transition of Finnish FBS companies to new business models. The aim is to understand how FBS companies define their ideal future states and related business models for the year 2030.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses thematic interviews with managers from various FBS firms and companies from interfacing sectors. In the interviews, the key idea of backcasting was pursued when respondents discussed the desirable future states of their business.

Findings

The effort to achieve growth of the business and the appearance of new products characterize the company-specific desirable future states. In these desirable futures, expanded businesses will be based on strong knowledge. Resource efficiency and collaboration create a strong basis for the desirable future state of the whole FBS to create a sustainable and innovative “Wood Valley.”

Research limitations/implications

The key limitations are that the backcasting process has been conducted only through interviews and a participative approach with stakeholder dialogue is lacking in the process. This means that the desirable futures are created by the FBS companies only.

Originality/value

As a practical contribution, the study shows the future-oriented thinking and goals of FBS firms. As a theoretical contribution, it extends research on sustainable business models and discussions on the novel field of corporate foresight.

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Article
Publication date: 28 July 2020

Alan Clardy

The purpose of this paper is to develop an ontological foundation for future studies, based in part on integrating some prior albeit incomplete work in this area.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an ontological foundation for future studies, based in part on integrating some prior albeit incomplete work in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

This manuscript is based on a literature review, as well as on conceptual and theoretical enhancements from this subject field.

Findings

As the future does not exist (it is always something yet to come), the ontological foundations for studying the future must be based on the current reality of the physical, biological and social-psychological worlds of experience and ideas. From this basis, 10 postulates are provided that are based on that current reality and are applied to studying the future. Thus, by characterizing the current reality and how it is understood by people, meaningful statements about the future are possible.

Practical implications

For each ontological postulate, one or more implications for the study of the future are provided as guidelines for practice.

Originality/value

This manuscript integrates and builds on prior offerings about ontological concerns into a comprehensive framework that legitimates and focuses the practices of studying the future.

Details

foresight, vol. 22 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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