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Horizon scanning in foresight - why horizon scanning is only a part of the game

: Cuhls, Kerstin

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Erstellt am: 7.12.2019

Futures & foresight science 2 (2020), Nr.1, Art. e23, 21 S.
ISSN: 2573-5152
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ISI ()
decision-making; foresight; foresight for strategies; forward-looking activities; horizon scanning; policy-making

Foresight and Horizon Scanning are often regarded as identical concepts with identical models and purposes. But they can be completely different activities, both in and for any kind of prospective activity as well as for strategy purposes. Scanning is no debate and no strategy building. Whereas Foresight is more process‐oriented and always includes a Horizon Scanning phase, Horizon Scanning is rather found at the beginning of any forward‐looking activity and can be an automatized stand‐alone approach for identifying “things to come” ‐ which often means the identification of new science and technology and providing information about them. This paper wants to shed light on some of the confusions in Foresight and Horizon Scanning (HS) that often occur in organizations, among researchers and practitioners being thus of practical and scientific relevance for using an integrated model. The contribution is backed up by a study conducted for the European Commission (Cuhls et al., 2015) conducted to clarify for the Commission’s Foresight department (A6) how the strategic intelligence part of a foresight, the Horizon Scanning, is intertwined with the sense‐making part in similar projects in other parts of the world. The contribution thus starts with a broad definition of Foresight and of Horizon Scanning, explains findings from the study on objectives, methods used and relates the discussion to the EU standard “Foresight Cycle” derived from EFFLA. The conclusions are relevant for decision‐making and strategy processes in the European Commission, for national foresight processes but also for company's and other users.