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Policy lensing of future-oriented strategic intelligence: An experiment connecting foresight with decision making contexts

: Robinson, Douglas K.R.; Schoen, Antoine; Larédo, Philippe; Gallart, Jordi M.; Warnke, Philine; Kuhlmann, Stefan; Ordónez-Matamoros, Gonzalo


Technological forecasting and social change 169 (2021), Art. 120803, 12 pp.
ISSN: 0040-1625
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
policy-lensing; Innovation Systems; research systems; scenario; mission-oriented policy; Europeanisation

The rich and complex outcomes of foresight activities are often difficult to translate into policy relevant intelligence. The struggle in connecting futures intelligence to policy making can be read as a basic challenge in foresight: working on futures intelligence has emerged as a way to improve policy, but once it is delegated to professional foresight practitioners with attendant quality and quality control, however, it also introduces a distance to policy making. Whilst independence and methodological rigour is desirable for high quality futures intelligence, bridging this intelligence with the policy context is essential for its use. Experiencing this challenge during a scenario exercise on the future European research and innovation system, the authors of this paper embarked on an experiment to go beyond evaluating the robustness of the scenarios, produced in a foresight exercise, by developing and applying “policy lenses” to translate the scenarios into policy tailored intelligence. This paper describes the experiment, which saw the development and application of three types of policy lenses: (1) a lens based on the layered processes of European policy making, (2) a lens based on three research and innovation policy priorities and (3) a lens on alternative geo-political situations of the European continent. The paper describes the logic behind the lenses, the interpretation of the original scenarios when viewed through these lenses, and then concludes by reflecting on how such an experiment could be generalised to other settings of policy-oriented foresight.