Mapping Foresight Reloaded

The “Mapping Foresight” initiative and report from 2009 was part of a series of publications produced by the European Foresight Monitoring Network (EFMN). EFMN was a Europe-wide network inspired and financed by the European Commission within the framework of the Foresight Knowledge Sharing Platform implemented under the Research Framework Programme (FP7). The mapping activity was one of the main activities of the network. Over 2000 initiatives were mapped between 2004 and 2008 in Europe and other world regions, including Latin America, North America, Asia and Oceania.

The report was the result of the first large international effort aimed at understanding the nature of foresight practices. Foresight has become more than just a tool to support policy or strategy development in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).

The EFMN and EFP Mapping Foresight activities considered foresight as a systematic work to promote effective processes to proactively think about the future. Early Mapping Foresight work focused on processes applied to a variety of research areas or knowledge domains, such as natural sciences, medical sciences, engineering and technology, agricultural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. However, limited lessons were drawn about mapping of foresight practices, outcomes and players by areas of application and by areas of science.

The Mapping Foresight Reloaded project led by Rafael Popper and Arho Suominen at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd aims to update and expand the work done by some of the Editors and Contributors in The Handbook of Technology Foresight in 2008. Leading authors and contributors of chapters will be selected based on a combined score resulting from 1) Delphi survey response, 2) Citations, advisory roles and outreach, 3) Relevance of insights provided in targeted interviews, 4) Response to open Call for Chapters; and 5) Co-editors approval.

Foresight practice in the world has evolved considerably partly because of the emergence of new players conducting foresight in practically all world regions. Similarly, the growing interdisciplinary nature of foresight, which has pushed the field into areas that go beyond the obvious ‘technology foresight’ activities, requires a more holistic, systematic and forward-looking study of foresight impact, methodology and practice.  This Handbook will look into the ‘universal’ use of foresight in a wide-range of areas and application settings. New impacts, methodologies and practices will be identified and analysed. Overall, the Handbook will be based on a systematic mapping of foresight ‘best’ practices, outcomes and players.

While co-producing the Handbook is one of the specific objetives of the Universal Foresight initiative, there are other specific objectives, which will be reached during the process:

  • Specific Objective 1: Development of a definition of universal foresight, building on the most common definitions, academic literature as well as expert opinions;
  • Specific Objective 2: The inclusion of general community of foresight practitioners, organisers and users in the co-creation of a Wiki-Foresight Ecosystem (Futurepedia). This Wiki environment will build on lessons learned from the Mapping Foresight (2009) initiative and will be supported by the 'Mapping Foresight Reloaded' activities.
  • Specific Objective 3: Development of a common understanding and knowledge base of best practices in foresight, which will also be used to support leading authors and contributors of chapters in the Handbook;
  • Specific Objective 4: Development of a coherent framework for the six parts and 36 chapters of the Handbook.
  • Specific Objective 5: Development of The Handbook of Universal Foresight - Impact, Methodology and Practice.