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1 – 10 of over 3000
Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Wendy L. Schultz

The purpose of this article is to identify points of conceptual conflict between evidence‐based policy research and horizon (environmental) scanning.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to identify points of conceptual conflict between evidence‐based policy research and horizon (environmental) scanning.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins with a brief history of foresight in UK government, then describes the current government context for horizon scanning. Next, it defines horizon scanning as a method; highlights the contradictions between horizon scanning and more traditional empirical research; and offers suggestions to improve the rigor of horizon scanning.

Findings

Increased focus on defining the rules for source identification and scan data validation can enhance credibility.

Research limitations/implications

Current horizon scanning work in the UK government suggests these methodological improvements, but proof will wait upon completion and deployment of several ongoing horizon scans.

Practical implications

Provides improved acceptability and dissemination of horizon scanning as a tool, as well as heightened engagement of policy‐makers, planners, and leaders with horizon scanning output.

Originality/value

There has been little previous work exploring the cultural constraints on adoption of horizon scanning within the evidence‐based polity context.

Details

Foresight, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 August 2012

Marco A. Palomino, Sarah Bardsley, Kevin Bown, Jennifer De Lurio, Peter Ellwood, David Holland‐Smith, Bob Huggins, Alexandra Vincenti, Harry Woodroof and Richard Owen

In this review, the aim is first to define horizon scanning and then outline the general approach currently employed by many organisations using web‐based resources. It

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Abstract

Purpose

In this review, the aim is first to define horizon scanning and then outline the general approach currently employed by many organisations using web‐based resources. It then aims to discuss the benefits and drivers of horizon scanning, to identify some organisations currently undertaking activities in the field, and explain in detail how the web‐based horizon scanning approach is implemented. The aim is then to conclude with a discussion of good practice and areas for further research.

Design/methodology/approach

The basis for this review is a symposium held at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in March 2010, where groups undertaking horizon scanning activities shared practices and reviewed the state of the art. Practitioners from both public sector and private organisations attending this symposium, as well as others, were invited to contribute to the manuscript, developing this as an iterative exercise over the last year.

Findings

Structured processes of web‐based horizon scanning, underpinned by strong technical understanding and principles of good practice described in the review, can add significant value to organisational decision making.

Originality/value

While a growing number of private and public sector organisations have already embarked on the use of the web as a key information resource, no detailed explanation of the web‐based horizon scanning approach has been published. The review therefore makes an original contribution to this field, with collaborations by horizon scanning practitioners, discussing what constitutes good practice and highlighting areas where future research is needed.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 22 September 2020

Yuichi Washida and Akihisa Yahata

The purpose of this study is to measure the predictive value of future scenarios prepared using horizon scanning. The future scenarios prepared at the initiative of the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to measure the predictive value of future scenarios prepared using horizon scanning. The future scenarios prepared at the initiative of the Japanese Government have had low predictive value. They have frequently failed to contribute to industrial development and caused social loss. Horizon scanning, which is a key methodology applied in foresight activities, has begun to be used in countries as part of their national innovation systems in lieu of conventional forecasting methods based on the assumption of technological innovation. Research was conducted to actually measure the predictive value of future scenarios prepared using horizon scanning.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey in Japan was conducted on ordinary people’s attitudes. The questionnaires presented 20 scenarios regarding future society, which were created with the conventional method or horizon scanning method.

Findings

Survey results verified that horizon scanning-based scenarios provided significantly higher predictive value than scenarios prepared using conventional methods.

Practical implications

Implication 1: By eliminating bias in input data and perspectives adopted when considering scenarios, it may be expected that scenarios will be derived that have even higher “predictive value.” Implication 2: By setting the layers of anticipated outputs high and the fields broad, it may be expected that scenarios will be derived that have even greater “change.”

Originality/value

The relatively high rate for the predictive value of the horizon scanning method, more than 40%, validated in this study was significant.

Details

foresight, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Ian Miles and Ozcan Saritas

This essay aims to introduce horizon scanning as an approach fundamental to most foresight studies.

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Abstract

Purpose

This essay aims to introduce horizon scanning as an approach fundamental to most foresight studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay combines a general review of the topic with an overview of a range of horizonscanning approaches that are in use in the UK health system.

Findings

Different approaches – shorter as well as longer‐term, searching as well as broad scanning – are appropriate in different circumstances. In times of systemic change it is necessary to combine approaches of all types.

Research limitations/implications

Only a small sample of the huge range of horizonscanning exercises has been studied, and the essay has not gone far into the question of how horizonscanning relates to other elements of the foresight process.

Practical implications

The implication is that horizonscanning should be undertaken on a routine basis, and should be integrated into planning activities from the start.

Social implications

Horizonscanning is a tool needed in activities such as planning for the workforce, and for health and safety issues.

Originality/value

The essay covers a wide range of activities with real‐life illustrations in addition to overall assessment.

Details

Foresight, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Claudia Juech and Evan S. Michelson

The Rockefeller Foundation has developed the first‐of‐its‐kind trend monitoring effort in the philanthropic and broader social sector, conceptualizing and operationalizing

Abstract

Purpose

The Rockefeller Foundation has developed the first‐of‐its‐kind trend monitoring effort in the philanthropic and broader social sector, conceptualizing and operationalizing an approach that surfaces cutting‐edge intelligence with a distinctly on‐the‐ground perspective from individuals and institutions living and working throughout the developing world, known as the Searchlight function. The Searchlight function consists of a network of forward‐looking, regionally focused horizon scanning and trend monitoring organizations that conduct regular, ongoing scanning for novel ideas, research results, and “clues” as to where the world is evolving. This article aims to focus on the Searchlight function and to introduce the Special Issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The article describes the goals and evolution of the Searchlight function, an important set of lessons learned, and an overview of the synthesis and visualization efforts that have been applied to the Searchlight outputs.

Findings

The insights demonstrate that multiple, complementary synthesis and visualization methods can be applied to pull together the findings from a diverse range of horizon scanning activities. These cover a broad spectrum of approaches, ranging from the qualitative to the quantitative, from automated to non‐automated, from local to global, and from top‐down to bottom‐up. They show how different audiences can be reached effectively, from engaging the interested lay public to producing materials for experts in the field.

Research limitations/implications

The articles outlined help to advance methodological thinking and provide benchmarks for horizon scanning, trend synthesis, and visualization that the foresight field can learn from and adopt over time.

Practical implications

Organizations across a range of sectors face the common challenge of how to monitor the current context in which they operate. While governments and businesses have developed novel ways of generating, processing, and acting on timely information that has long‐term relevance and significance, the development and philanthropic sectors have generally been slow to adopt these foresight practices. The Searchlight function is beginning to fill this gap in the social sector.

Social implications

The Searchlight function demonstrates how the practice of anticipating and tracking trends and envisioning different alternatives for how global issues might evolve can be harnessed to shape the future of human development and to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable populations. Creating such a global endeavor on this scale requires an iterative process linking together talented and committed individuals and institutions dedicated to a common goal.

Originality/value

The Searchlight function demonstrates one way that the philanthropic and broader social sector can take steps to think and act with the long‐term future more explicitly in mind by anticipating the most challenging problems and opportunities that might impact the lives of poor or vulnerable populations over the long‐term future. It shows how an organization can use trend monitoring and horizon scanning to better understand how the dynamic issues facing poor and vulnerable populations intertwine to create the complex realities of today and how they might fit together to illuminate the new realities of tomorrow.

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2013

Marco A. Palomino, Alexandra Vincenti and Richard Owen

Web‐based information retrieval offers the potential to exploit a vast, continuously updated and widely available repository of emerging information to support horizon

Abstract

Purpose

Web‐based information retrieval offers the potential to exploit a vast, continuously updated and widely available repository of emerging information to support horizon scanning and scenario development. However, the ability to continuously retrieve the most relevant documents from a large, dynamic source of information of varying quality, relevance and credibility is a significant challenge. The purpose of this paper is to describe the initial development of an automated web‐based information retrieval system and its application within horizon scanning for risk analysis support.

Design/methodology/approach

Using an area of recent interest for the insurance industry, namely, space weather — the changing environmental conditions in near‐Earth space — and its potential risks to terrestrial and near‐Earth insurable assets, the authors benchmarked the system against current information retrieval practice within the emerging risks group of a leading global insurance company.

Findings

The results highlight the potential of web‐based horizon scanning to support risk analysis, but also the challenges of undertaking this effectively. The authors addressed these challenges by introducing a process that offers a degree of automation — using an API‐based approach — and improvements in retrieval precision — using keyword combinations within automated queries. This appeared to significantly improve the number of highly relevant documents retrieved and presented to risk analysts when benchmarked against current practice in an insurance context.

Originality/value

Despite the emergence and increasing use of web‐based horizon scanning in recent years as a systematic approach for decision support, the current literature lacks research studies where the approach is benchmarked against current practices in private and public sector organisations. This paper therefore makes an original contribution to this field, discussing the way in which web‐based horizon scanning may offer significant added value for the risk analysts, for what may be only a modest additional investment in time.

Details

Foresight, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Ozcan Saritas and Ian Miles

The current paper aims to present the Scan‐4‐Light study, which was conducted for the systematic scanning and analysis of the Searchlight newsletters as a rapidly growing

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Abstract

Purpose

The current paper aims to present the Scan‐4‐Light study, which was conducted for the systematic scanning and analysis of the Searchlight newsletters as a rapidly growing collection of articles on trends and topics in development and poverty.

Design/methodology/approach

Built upon the concept of the systemic foresight methodology, the Scan‐4‐Light approach involves the integrated use of horizon scanning, network analysis and evolutionary scenarios combined with expert consultations and workshops. The study identified the emerging trends, issues, weak signals and wild cards; created high‐value visualisations to emphasize the results and findings; and produced narratives to increase the impact and awareness of the development issues.

Findings

The Scan‐4‐Light project has resulted in a large number of specific outputs, providing the views of the Searchlight newsletters' contents at various levels of granularity. It has set out to show how the tools used here can be applied to illustrate the relationships among issues, and how these vary across countries and regions over time, and are linked to various stakeholders and possible solutions to problems.

Research limitations/implications

Scan‐4‐Light demonstrates how foresight tools and techniques can be used for the analysis of complex and uncertain issues, such as development and poverty, in a systemic way.

Practical implications

The Scan‐4‐Light approach can be applied in a number of areas for scanning and identifying emerging trends and issues, and understanding the relationships between systems and solutions.

Social implications

The paper gives evidence that most of the issues, if not all, related to development are not isolated, but interlinked and interconnected. They require more holistic understanding and intervention with an effective collaboration between stakeholders.

Originality/value

A demonstration of a novel scanning approach is presented in the paper.

Article
Publication date: 28 July 2021

Andy Hines and Lakhana Dockiao

The rapidly changed global context for internationalization (IZN) over the next decade prompted a decision to use a futurist perspective for identifying issues to be…

Abstract

Purpose

The rapidly changed global context for internationalization (IZN) over the next decade prompted a decision to use a futurist perspective for identifying issues to be considered in the organization’s next strategic plan. This paper aims to report on this project to identify current and strategic issues influencing the future strategy of the higher education (HE) IZN for Thailand on behalf of the Bureau of International Cooperation Strategy and the Office of the Higher Education Commission.

Design/methodology/approach

The research approach was a customized version of the University of Houston’s Framework Foresight method. It involved framing the domain with a description and domain map, scanning for signals of change within the domain and emerging issues analysis to produce a set of current and emerging issues. A planning step synthesizes a set of recommended actions.

Findings

The key findings reported in this paper are the identification of 14 current and emerging issues influencing the future of the IZN of HE in Thailand. The issues were organized along with the three horizons framework: H1: how are we [currently] doing? H2: what should we do next and H3, where do we want to go? The primary recommendation of this research reported on in this study is to consider the 14 issues for inclusion into the next strategic plan. Seven specific strategic options mapped over three phases were identified as well. The research reported here was carried out for Thailand, but the process could easily be adapted by other countries and other topics.

Research limitations/implications

The modified version of the University of Houston Framework Foresight approach has been applied successfully to many topics. The topic explored here is focused on one nation, Thailand. The authors feel the lessons are, however, broadly applicable.

Practical implications

The ability to use a futurist perspective to identify current and emerging issues is highlighted. The organizing of the issues using the three horizons framework proved to be particularly useful in helping the client to develop a sense of timing regarding the future, that is, when and to what degree to pay attention to the many issues that typically confront any organization.

Originality/value

The use of the three horizons framework in the analysis of the emerging issues provide benefits in two ways in situating the likely timing of signals of change in horizon scanning and “scan hits” both scanning for the identification of issues and organizing the resulting current and emerging issues along the three horizons with H1 current issues: how are we [currently] doing?; H2 emerging issues: what should we do next and H3 emerging issues, where do we want to go? The paper also includes a section exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the likely timing of the issues identified just before the pandemic hit, finding that timing of some issues would speed up, some would stay the same and some would slow down.

Details

On the Horizon , vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Governing for the Future: Designing Democratic Institutions for a Better Tomorrow
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-056-5

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Juliane Welz, Annamaria Riemer, Inga Döbel, Nora Dakkak and Anna Sophie Von Schwartzenberg

The aim of this paper is to gain knowledge in podcast mining as an additional source for Web-based horizon scanning (HS). The paper presents theoretical insights on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to gain knowledge in podcast mining as an additional source for Web-based horizon scanning (HS). The paper presents theoretical insights on the potential of podcast mining by exploring topics, which may be relevant in the future, and by reflecting the results against a background of HS approaches. The study provides a preliminary overview by presenting an exemplary list of podcast shows for further research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses an exploratory quantitative content analysis, which was conducted on the basis of 30 topics deemed to be relevant in the future and which were identified in the field of applied science. Based on these topics, podcasts and episodes were identified which address future-oriented topics and were discussed in terms of range of content.

Findings

The findings indicate that future-oriented topics are addressed in podcasts. However, differences in dynamics and range of content of the podcasts concerned highlight the necessity of identifying a list of suitable podcasts according to the specific scanning focus and the dynamics of each future-oriented topics.

Originality/value

While a growing number of podcast studies have already noted the importance of podcasts as a key medium, for example, educational processes and media sciences, no detailed explanation of podcast mining as a tool for the purposes of HS has been published. The review therefore makes an original contribution to this field, highlighting areas where future research is needed.

Details

foresight, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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