Foresight and scenarios at Fraunhofer ISI
The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyses the origins and impacts of innovations and research, the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes, and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. Apart from clients from industry, academia and politics, the Fraunhofer ISI supports futures dialogues and the strategy process within the Fraunhofer-Society itself. For this purpose, scientifically based analysis, evaluation, as well as foresight methods are applied and developed. The term "foresight" refers to a structured debate about complex futures that is based on a systematic approach using various methods of future research [5, 15, 16]. One of them is the scenario method that provides a systematic process of creating alternative pictures of the future integrating quantitative and qualitative data. The scenario method concerns the interaction with the relevant actors. The focus is on active preparation for the long-term future by inspiring future thinking and supporting action towards shaping the future. For this purpose, new approaches are constantly being developed or known ones are further advanced. A system perspective is always at the heart of the scenario process design. Hence, a look into the future needs to be broad and comprehensive, including multiple perspectives. In addition, the scenario method is open to different pathways into the future and to discussing alternative developments. For decisions to be taken today, a future has to be selected, to prepare for it, or to make it real. One option may also be a business-as-usual scenario for the future. It is important to clarify which future is being analysed: a possible future (What can happen?), a probable future (Which options do we have?), a desirable future or a vision (Where do we want to go?).