Foresight exercise

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Yazan, Abdurrahman M. Methods Used in Future Technology Analysis and its Selection: an application to VTOL transportation system. Monte de Caparica: IET Working Papers Series, 2016. Abstract

Change is happening at an ever faster rate today, driven partly by technological changes leading to changes in all other areas of our lives. Today’s global trends, uncertainties, and surprises have the potential to significantly change the way the world works tomorrow. Shaping the world we want to live in means being more aware of the future and seeking better approaches. In such increasingly uncertain environment, planning uncertainties force policy and decision makers to foster future-oriented technology analyses (FTA) by using foresight methodologies. FTA can help us react on the likely directions of technologies, manage the risks involved and shape technological trajectories in order to improve the long term benefits to society. Foresight methodologies seek to gather data and make sense of it so that people can think in different and new ways about the future. That data might be collected from humans or from the analysis of documents and artefacts, or both. The data might be analysed using qualitative or quantitative techniques, or both. To be used in strategy processes, however, data needs to be analysed, interpreted and used in ways that make sense to the organisation. There is no single set of methods used in all foresight activities. The methods used need to reflect the resources available and the objectives of the exercise. The choice of methods is critical, though it often appears to be based upon what is fashionable or which practitioners have experience in. The methods may be organised and interrelated in different ways. In other terms, the conduct of foresight analyses needs to be tailored to the type. The first thing to do is to choose the right methods which are most appropriate to the analysis and technology characteristics. One of the substantial advances has been a move away from a tool or method driven approach to one which relies on the selection of tools in accord with their appropriateness for the particular issue being examined, their relative strengths and limitations. Thus, the experience of observing so many developing nations attempting to conduct a Japanese style Delphi survey, with an extremely limited number of ‘experts’ and doubtful relevance of estimated technology realisation times to their economy, indicates the need to develop foresight appropriate to local conditions. Their use and contribution will be determined primarily by the values, structures and cultures of the organisations applying them. This paper will try to discuss the importance of future oriented technology analysis, in particularly technology foresight, and the question of how to select the best methodology among the existing ones. Although this paper intends to lay a framework and cover the tools used in technology futures analysis, in particularly emerging air transportation technologies, a full understanding of each of these tools is out of this paper. The conduct of analysis needs to be tailored to the type. The first thing to do is to choose the right tools which are most appropriate to the analysis and the technology characteristics. Thus, we have to set the criteria and figure out key aspects and factors for designing our research. In our case, the key aspects and factors are: it is a long term vision for 10-15 years later; an emerging air transportation mode; a socio- technological system of systems in transportation area which is composed of resources and stakeholders network, drivers and disruptors; and also normative, both qualitative and quantitative, national and global. The probably research tools that can be used are; agent based modelling, cost benefit analysis, scenarios, impact analysis, case study (Visioning), subjective judgement, roadmap, interviews, benefit visualization tool, literature reviews, and attending conferences.

Moretto, Susana Martins, António Brandão Moniz, and Douglas Robinson. Visions on high-speed trains: a methodological analysis. Monte de Caparica: IET Working Papers Series, 2015. Abstract

Future Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) has been visible in railway planning since 2001. Over a dozen reports have been produced in the past thirteen years, the majority being descriptive endogenous technocentric visions. They have played a role in the revitalization of the sector, predominantly relating to collective alignments and interdependencies in choice and form of the technological path the various stakeholders’ follow to achieve policy goals. A striking example is the case of ERRAC visions, where strategic agendas and roadmaps greatly impacted the high-speed train technology transition from the second to the third generation of vehicles. However, today’s socio-economic events have revealed the limitations of previously applied FTA fall short for railways. In particular, there is an inability to bridge technocentric visions with the societal challenges that are becoming increasingly prominent on the policy agenda. To fill this FTA-need in railways it is here proposed a role for constructive technology assessment as bridging function towards achieving success in the transition to a next generation of high-speed trains. The findings here presented result from the analysis of reports and interviews with their commissioning institutions and drafters.

Paliokaité, Agné. "Industry level foresight: designing foresight methods for Lithuanian energy sector." Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies 6 (2010): 9-51. AbstractWebsite

This paper has its starting point in the background analysis of the Lithuanian energy sector after closing down the only Lithuanian nuclear power plant in 2010. Based on the hypothesis that one of the main governance failures in this sector leading to weak industry level strategies is the lack of participatory debate and sufficient linkages between the different actors involved in the dynamic of the energy sector in Lithuania, this paper proposes industry level foresight as an instrument of long term planning. Foresight exercises could become an important instrument for reorienting energy sector policy, building new networks and linkages among the different actors, bringing new stakeholders into the strategic debate, exploring future opportunities State investment (including R&D), etc. The primary objective of this paper is therefore the design of a foresight exercise on energy sector with the aim of producing a long term strategy for this sector. The secondary objective is to address a topic on how to select foresight methods at industry level. The argument is that a better understanding of the fundamental attributes of foresight methods and their linkages to the core phases of a foresight process can provide useful insights as to how the selection of methods is carried out. The method applied in this paper is dual: firstly, the synthesis of the academic literature on the selection of foresight methods is carried out; secondly, the comparative case study analysis of three foresight cases in the Baltic Sea Region (Poland, Finland and Russia) is applied. Case study analysis allows to explore the usage of foresight methods at industry level in the Baltic Sea Region and to understand if there are any similarities in the approach, also to explore success factors and weaknesses. The analysis in this paper is comprised of four main parts. The first part provides a background analysis on the energy sector in Lithuania and justification for the foresight exercise. Second part describes the underlying frameworks and definitions in the field of foresight research. The third part develops a comparative analysis of case studies of industry level foresight. The third part provides recommendations for energy sector foresight methodology in Lithuania. The paper combines concepts and frameworks from literature (such as the Foresight Process and the Foresight Diamond) with comparative practical case study analysis. The results can be utilised by lecturers and students to describe and understand better the use of foresight methods at industry level, and by practitioners of foresight to better inform decisions during the design of more coherent methodological frameworks; as well as by the energy sector stakeholders in Lithuania and other countries.