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UNIDO Technology Foresight Initiative. Dr. Ing. Ricardo Seidl da Fonseca October 2008. Structure of the presentation. The need for foresight as instrument for policy making What is foresight? Why foresight is used? Overview of foresight methods Brief history of foresight’s use

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Unido technology foresight initiative

UNIDO Technology Foresight Initiative

Dr. Ing. Ricardo Seidl da Fonseca

October 2008

Unido technology foresight initiative

Structure of the presentation

  • The need for foresight as instrument for policy making

  • What is foresight?

  • Why foresight is used?

  • Overview of foresight methods

  • Brief history of foresight’s use

  • How to do the exercise

  • UNIDO Technology Foresight Initiative

Industrial policy in the context of open innovation
Industrial policy in the context of open innovation

  • Concept of innovation ecosystem (open innovation system)

  • Convergence of innovation and industrial policy in the context of knowledge economy

  • Emerging reorientation of innovation policy with new emphasis upon demand-side policies

  • Foresight role in creating shared strategic vision of the future

Thinking about the future
Thinking about the Future

Who Would Have Imagined in the Late 1980s …

  • the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism?

  • a decade-long recession in Japan?

  • the rise of the Internet?

  • financial crash is the USA?

There is no alternative to thinking about future alternatives

The future is impossible to predict

Assumptions about the future are inevitable

Thinking about the future dealing with projections into the future some biases still prevail
Thinking about the Future - Dealing with projections into the future some biases still prevail...

Absorbed by the technology itself, the impacts of technology

on societal change are often ignored

Lesson learned:

Don‘t be preoccupied too much with technology push,

take a balanced look also at societal contexts and market pull

Unido technology foresight initiative

Thinking about the Future - Dealing with projections into the future some biases still prevail...

Technical Feasibility is often equated with market demand

Lesson learned:

In a world populated by a clutter of nice technical gadgets, customers may become very selective and reserved about „disruptive technologies“

Unido technology foresight initiative


South Korea





Organisation of transport modes





Modernization Stages


Busses/Used Cars/Passenger Vans


New Cars

Intellig. Transpor-tation Systems



Thinking about the Future - Dealing with projections into the future some biases still prevail...

The potential for global diffusion of technologies is often overestimated

Lesson learned:

Regional and cultural differences matter, understand diversity,

„time logic“ and asynchronities of societies

Unido technology foresight initiative


Business & Industry

Demography & Target Groups



Consumer Behavior




Science & Technology


Energy & Environment


Internet & Communication


& Mobility

Society, Lifestyles & Values

Future-oriented Monitoring - International and future-oriented analysis of the company´s business environment

FutureWatch is an annual integrated analysis of trends in the business environment that are shaping the future markets, products, and services of Mercedes-Benz in Europe, the U.S. and select other regions


Products & Services


Unido technology foresight initiative

Product Focus

Scenario Approach 2003-2013

Strategic Futures Research - Identification of opportunities and risks for existing and new products, services and processes

Emerging Vehicle Markets – Regional Focus

Unido technology foresight initiative

Landscape of Future Studies

Focus on Markets and Business Environments

(economic, political, societal, ecological)

= non-technological driving forces

Long term perspective

Scenarios of Future


(e.g. Political think tanks)

Short/medium term perspective

Strategic Marketing

and Trend Research


Market Research

Global Trends

(e.g. World Bank,

Worldwatch Institute)


market research

Prospective Economic Analyses

+ 5 years

+ 10 years

+ 15 years




Innovation and Technology Analysis

Product Impact Assessment

Technology Assessment

(e.g.Offices for technology







Technology Foresight

(e.g. Delphi-Studies,

Technology Monitoring)

Focus on Technologies

Planning forecast foresight is there any dif f erence
Planning– Forecast-ForesightIs there any difference?

Foresight can use forecasts, as well as contribute to planning, but it should not be confused with either activity.

Planningis based on theories or doctrines on future developments; involves policy makers and experts; uses shorter time horizons – usually not over 1-5 years

Forecasting tends to assume that there is one probable future, based on extrapolation or projections of past and present tends; it involves only experts; time horizons are less then 10 years, whereas

Foresight assumes that there are numerous possible futures, and that the future is in fact there to be created through the actions the interested stakeholders choose to take today; it uses horizons of 10-20 years.

M.Keenan, R. Seidl da Fonseca

Weakness of conventional policy formulation
Weakness of conventional policy formulation

  • Simple extrapolative prediction (based on forecasting)

  • Narrow pool of expertise

  • Passive outcomes: “white papers” or policy documents

  • Limited ownership from the wider stakeholders

  • Proposals are mostly normative

  • Disruptive and innovative trends are difficult to predict

What is foresight
What is foresight?

  • B. Martin (1995):- Research foresight is “the process involved in systematically attempting to look into the longer-term future of science, technology, the economy and society with the aim of identifying the areas of strategic research and the emerging generic technologies likely to yield the greatest economic and social benefits”

  • L. Georghiou (1996):- Technology foresight is “a systematic means of assessing those scientific and technological developments which could have a strong impact on industrial competitiveness, wealth creation and quality of life”

The future is „certainly uncertain“, foresight can prepare us for a variety of "futures"

Status of foresight
Status of foresight

  • Multiple activities and purposes sharing a name

  • Content focus

    • Priority setting

    • Identifying ways in which future science and technology could address future challenges for society and identifying potential opportunities

  • Structural focus (increasing tendency)

    • Reorienting Science & Innovation system

    • Demonstrating vitality of S & I system

    • Bringing new actors into the strategic debate

    • Building new networks and linkages across fields, sectors & markets or around problems

  • Content and Structural Goals may be addressed simultaneously

    • All above may be at organisational, local, regional, national or supranational levels

  • Also foresight carrying input from S&T futures into wider policy domains

Typical stakeholders in a foresight exercise
Typical stakeholders in a Foresight exercise

Foresight is about providing a framework for ongoing DIALOGUE between various societal actors, such as:

  • Government

  • Industry

  • Academia - natural & social scientists

  • Others, e.g. NGOs, trades unions, the media, banks, schools, the general public, etc.

    An important benefit for these actors is mutual (and collective) learning

Five essential elements
Five essential elements

  • Anticipation and projections of long-term developments

  • Interactive and participative methods of debate and analysis

  • Forging new social networks

  • Elaboration of strategic visions based on a shared sense of commitment

  • Implications for present-day decisions and actions

Common aims of foresight
Common aims of Foresight

  • Direction-setting

  • Determining priorities

  • Anticipatory intelligence

  • Informing debate

  • Increasing stakeholders’ involvement

  • Building social capital

  • Building identities

  • Advocacy

  • Consensus-generation

Common foresight features
Common Foresight features

  • Long-term orientation

    • usually over ten years

  • Consider a wide-range of factors

    • interdisciplinary approaches

  • Be interactive

    • draw on knowledge and views from different sectors and organisations

  • Be institutionalised

    • creating networks among actors

  • Employ formal techniques

  • to elicit, structure and synthesise the information

What sorts of results does foresight create
What sorts of results does Foresight create?

  • Examples of tangible ‘products’ include:

    • Critical technology lists

    • Baseline and benchmarking studies

    • Scenarios and Visions

    • Delphi survey result databases

  • Examples of ‘process’ benefits associated with foresight include:

    • Networking and resultant horizontal linkages

    • Commitment to guiding visions / recommendations

    • Adoption of long-term thinking and Foresight practices => foresight culture

Overview of some common methods loveridge 1996
Overview of some common methods (Loveridge, 1996)











of methods










M ethods

Knowledge about the present

Alternative futures

What to do

The „best future“

What if

What if

What if

Present actions

Alternative futures


Exploratory approach: what would we expect to happen if this event happens or if that trend develops?

Normative approach: what to do now to make the „best future“ happen?

Application of the foresight methodology
Application of the foresight methodology

  • Establishing a transparent structured decision-making process

  • Introducing a forward-looking attitude – anticipative intelligence

  • Provoking a creative and motivating decision making environment

  • Stimulating a participative approach

  • Enabling mutual learning and strategic dialogue

  • Reaching consensus around shared visions

  • Linking technology and innovation to wider socio-economic issues

Sequencing methods
Sequencing Methods

  • Methods are rarely used in isolation; rather, they are used in complementary sequences

  • Useful to think about steps involved in foresight:

    • Enrolment of participants

    • Background data gathering, possibly forecasting

    • Ideas generation

    • Interaction between participants

    • Analysis and assessment

    • Synthesis and prioritisation

    • Dissemination and implementation

  • Possible sequence: co-nomination, trend extrapolation, bibliometric analysis, expert panels, brainstorming, Delphi, scenarios, multi-criteria decision making, workshops . . .

Examples of foresight exercises
Examples of foresight exercises

  • National level

  • Company level

  • Supranational level

  • UN response

Modern foresight family tree national s t oriented exercises
Modern Foresight family tree(National S&T-oriented exercises)

  • From 1970 Japanese Science and Technology Agency began periodic 30 year forecasts

  • French initiatives in early 1980s

  • Dutch foresight began activity in 1989

  • US Congress established Critical Technologies Institute in 1991

  • German and UK exercises major milestones

  • Major upsurge during 1990s, especially in Western Europe and East Asia

  • 2000 – EU New Member States and Latin America

Unido technology foresight initiative

Mutual policy

learning –

selective national



Company foresight daimler chrysler
Company Foresight: Daimler Chrysler

  • Aim: To support strategy and product development processes

  • Permanent Foresight capability since 1979: Society and Technology Research Group

  • Covers anything that impacts on company competitiveness – around 40 studies per year

  • Time Horizon: typically around 10 years, but variable

  • Methods: Scenarios

  • Outcome: strategies sufficiently robust to survive most scenarios

Unido technology foresight initiative

ScenarioProcess at Daimler Chrysler

Unido technology foresight initiative1
UNIDO Technology Foresight Initiative

Unido technology foresight initiative

  • UN Secretary General report on “Bridging the Technology Gap between and within Nations”, proposes to governments in developing countries and economies in transition, “involving representatives from industry, academia and public sectors in carrying out comprehensive technology foresight exercises with a view to identifying technologies that are likely to help address pressing socio-economic needs and establish priorities in S&T policy and governmental programmes on research and education”.

Unido technology foresight initiative

  • Aims

  • Responding to the member countries’ need for a mid- and long-term development vision

  • Bringing a more technology-oriented focus into the relevant national and regional knowledge-based institutions

  • Providing assistance for a more sustainable and innovative development

  • Fostering economical, environmental and social benefits at national and regional levels

Unido technology foresight initiative

Development Objectives

  • Contribute to enhancing the industrial competitiveness and expand trading potential

  • Foster economic, environmental and social benefits at national and regional levels

  • Definition of innovation policies and R&D programmes

Unido technology foresight initiative

Implementation strategy & activities

  • Awareness building and training

  • Summits, Conferences and expert meetings

  • Electronic information exchange facility and tools

  • Studies and sectoral exercises

  • Financial mechanisms

  • Counterparts and coordination mechanism (EVC)

Unido technology foresight initiative

Regional Dimension

  • Foresight as a tool for regional R&D programmes

  • Enhance quality and effectiveness of foresight through multi-country networking

  • Reduce costs by sharing common activities

  • Awareness of global and regional trends

  • Joint vision and solutions for cross-border problems

  • Concentration of multi-country production chains

Unido technology foresight initiative

Future UNIDO efforts

  • Supportgovernments and companiesto set upforesight capabilities

  • Establish a connection between the construction of alternativefuture visionsthrough foresight exercises and the definition ofindustrial policies and governance framework

  • Set upClearing Houseson Foresight (ex. EVC)

Unido technology foresight initiative activities
UNIDO Technology Foresight InitiativeActivities

Regional or multi country foresight exercises and activities
Regional or Multi-country foresight exercises and activities

Capacity Building

Training Programme on Technology Foresight (2001-8)


Technology Foresight Summit - Budapest, Hungary (2003-7)


Future of the Fishery Industry in South American Pacific cost (2005-6)

Future of the Andean Products: Medicinal Plants (2006-7)

Future of the Food Industry in 6 CEE countries (2007-9)

Future of the Andean Products: Textiles (2008-2009)

Unido technology foresight initiative

Special characteristics of the UNIDO approach: Multicountry

Participation of differentcountries



Complex production chains

Complex production chains

Unido technology foresight initiative

Special characteristics of the UNIDO approach:

Productive Chains

Production processes



Identification of:

Opportunities for the pluri-national production chains and industries

Required cooperation for technology up-grading

The future of the fishery industry south american pacific coast

Unido technology foresight initiative

Fishery Productive chain




Fresh water






Factory ships





Small scale

Intermediate and final agricultural goods




Industrial intermediate goods

Semi-refined oils

Refined oils

Meals and crude oils

Production services

Capital goods

Balanced food

Animal feed


Unido technology foresight initiative



Strengh and weakness of the environment

National productive chains: fleets, industry, markets

National Diagnostics

Regional Panel

Regional Situation

National Panels


National Foresight Studies

Regional Panel and Report


Making Processes

Tools of Action

Critical Technologies

Results recommendations

  • Definition of a regional policy

  • Technology up-grading and investment promotion for re-conversion and modernization

  • Creation of new regional center for capability building and technology watch/road mapping

  • Establishing a quality mark of origin for the fish products of the region

The future of the food industry central and eastern european countries
THE FUTURE OF THE FOOD INDUSTRY Central and Eastern European Countries

Future of the food industry in eastern europe
Future of the Food Industry in Eastern Europe

Project: Healthy and Safe Food for the Future - A Technology Foresight Project in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia

Contract no.: 43005 FutureFood6

European Commission – 6th Framework

Starting date: 01 February 2007

Duration: 2 years

Future of the food industry in eastern europe the immediate goal
Future of the Food Industry in Eastern Europe - The immediate goal:

  • to assist thetotal food chainin Central and Eastern European countries to reach international standards

  • to enhance Europeancompetitivenessas a whole bydeveloping an industry, which is synonymous withsafety, diversity, sophistication and products of high quality.

Unido technology foresight initiative

Future of the Food Industry in Eastern EuropeProject team









Czech Rep.



BIC Group






ARC Fund

Committee of high-level national policy-makers

Knowledge institutions on food industry from every participating country

Unido technology foresight initiative

Future of the Food Industry in Eastern Europe -

Project strategy:

1.  Mobilization of a variety of stakeholders groups

2.  A socio-economic scenario building exercise

3.  Interviews with specialists.

4.  A survey on key technologies

5.  Future vision building exercise

6. Technology road mapping

Work plan flowchart

Unido technology foresight initiative

Future of the Food Industry in Eastern Europe

Work plan Flow

Work plan flowchart

Unido technology foresight initiative2

UNIDO Technology Foresight Initiative

Dr. Ing. Ricardo Seidl da Fonseca


October 2008