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Technology Foresight as Innovation Policy Instrument – Learning from Science and Technology Studies

Philine Warnke

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Gaston Heimeriks

Utrecht University

May 25, 2009

This paper aims at contributing to theoretical aspects of Foresight from the perspective of the interdisciplinary body of knowledge that has become known as STS - Science and Technology Studies (c.f. Jasanoff 1994). Drawing in particular on STS insights on the Social Shaping of Technology (SST) we would like to investigate the possibility of Foresight to support policy makers in influencing innovation trajectories according to societal needs.

In this paper, we highlight four different modes of policy support Foresight is expected to deliver: Foresight as systemic innovation policy instrument fostering innovation capability, Foresight orienting innovation towards societal needs, Foresight as agenda setting process and Foresight a provider of anticipatory intelligence as a base for decision making.

From these starting points, we turn to Social Shaping of Technology. Central to SST is the idea that technology co-evolves in a complex interaction with society which is reflected in both the design of individual artefacts and systems, and in the direction or trajectory of innovation programmes. Different routes are available, potentially leading to different technological outcomes. This paper discusses some relevant insights on the character of technologies, as well as their social implications, that are problematised and opened up for enquiry in SST; contingency and constraint of variation, role of expectations and visions, importance of downstream phase of innovation, importance of localisation and insights on steering possibilities for technological trajectories

These insights allow us to elaborate one the concepts of Foresight as a process moderator, Foresight as expectation management, provision of anticipatory intelligence and localisation through Foresight.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: innovation policy, science and technology dtudies, expectations

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Date posted: May 26, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Warnke, Philine and Heimeriks, Gaston, Technology Foresight as Innovation Policy Instrument – Learning from Science and Technology Studies (May 25, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1409750 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1409750

Contact Information

Philine Warnke
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Gaston Heimeriks (Contact Author)
Utrecht University ( email )
Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
HOME PAGE: http://heimeriks.net
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