Chapter 16: Foresight and science, technology and innovation indicators
Technology foresight as one of the key areas of forward-looking activities over the last two decades has become a tool with a significant influence on science, technology and innovation (STI) policies in many countries worldwide, with a much longer tradition in Japan and a few other countries. Since the early 1990s foresight has been evolving from an instrument to assess future prospects of individual research areas to an integral part of STI policy formulation and implementation. Luke Georghiou singles out five generations of foresight (Georghiou et al. 2008: 15–16) that vary from mainly forecasting that refers to the internal dynamics of technology to a wide mix of activities aimed at either structures of actors within the STI system or the STI dimensions of the broader social or economic context. Foresight can affect the innovation performance of a country through different channels. In the present globalization context in the industrialized nations it is accepted that an explicit and coherent STI policy is essential for economic and social development. Foresight studies affect STI policy strategy decisions by supporting priority setting. They create, in addition, crucial networks and interactions between participants in the national system of innovation and contribute to the acceptance of new developments and to the consideration of all of the technological potentials (Martin 1995).
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