Terminology and Methodology for Benchmarking Foresight Programmes
51 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2011 Last revised: 22 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 30, 2005
This report, prepared for the ForSociety ERANET project, addresses a need to develop a common language and approach in comparing national foresight programmes. An appropriate terminology and methodology is particularly important, as foresight activities in various countries are characterised by a high level of diversity of structures, as well as varying levels of maturity, intensity, and effort in place. This is often based on a diversity of perceptions and understandings of the role of foresight, linked to differing country context and approach. A meaningful comparison of foresight depends on a deeper understanding of the background to the evolution of foresight in each country and the template developed in this report is aimed providing this level of detail.
It is organised in three parts: (1) the underlying concepts and framework for benchmarking – presenting (a) an overview of evolutionary economics of innovation, as a theoretical background, (b) a taxonomy of foresight programmes, as well as (c) the concept of intelligent benchmarking; – (2) the final version of a template for individual programme descriptions, together with (3) a glossary of key terms.
The report claims that mechanistic or naïve benchmarking is likely to produce misleading policy conclusions. Intelligent benchmarking – learning by comparison, taking into account the broader context – is a more promising way forward. There is no ‘one best way’, and thus actual foresight programmes should not be benchmarked against an ‘ideal’, ‘optimal’ or ‘best practice’ design of foresight. They can be benchmarked against 3-4 ‘ideal types’ of future-oriented programmes, and this can lead to meaningful methodological and policy lessons.
Keywords: Technology foresight; Taxonomy of foresight programmes; Intelligent benchmarking; STI policies
JEL Classification: B52; O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation