Foresight is a systematic, participatory process, involving gathering intelligence and building visions for the medium to long-term future, and aimed at informing present day decisions and mobilizing joint actions 5.
Foresight arises from a convergence of trends underlying recent developments in the fields of “policy analysis”, “strategic planning” and “future studies”. It brings together key agents of change and various sources of knowledge in order to develop strategic visions and anticipatory intelligence 5.
Foresight tools and techniques which have been used extensively since the early 1990s at national level may also apply regionally, but the overall process design will strongly depend on specific regional characteristics (e.g. its degree of autonomy, financial competence, infrastructure endowments, business profile, etc. “Region” from the Foresight point of view may refer to a federal state, a metropolitan area or some other sub national aggregation with an historical, economic identity or a distinctive geographical dimension 5.
The difference between Foresight and other planning activities relates to the participative dimension of Foresight, which is well adapted to the regional level. On the other hand, Foresight demands orientations to policymaking that may be unfamiliar to regional actors who are used to working within compartmentalised divisions. Foresight seeks to break down such barriers. However, Foresight is only worthwhile when there is a possibility to act on the results that it will generate 5.
There are three main organizational dimensions in any Foresight activity that need to be considered: its formal structure (roles and responsibilities), the decision processes (management style), and resource procurement (sponsorship). A number of formal and informal roles can be discerned in Foresight, including promoters, stakeholders, sponsors, steering committee, project team, champions, experts, process experts, monitoring groups, etc. Formal roles and responsibilities require careful definition so that players know what they need to do and by when 5.
Methods and techniques used in regional Foresight seems to fit the best for solving the problems with supporting long-term investing ventures management in self-government territory units (JST).
Regional Foresight is the implementation of the five essential elements of Foresight – anticipation, participation, networking, vision and action – at a reduced territorial scale where proximity factors become determinant 5. Regional Foresight assumes directing local’s decision-makers consciousness from long-term challenges and possibilities for direct actions. Regional Foresight tools are considered as the very important especially in nowadays conditions of fast changing knowledge based reality because they allow for creating more efficient development policy which helps to provide more extended information and to stimulate activity.
The general target of Regional Foresight is providing valuable input in local strategies and development plans as well as mobilizing joint strategic actions of key actors of particular region. Foresight involves representatives of public government, industry, non-profit organizations, scientific organizations as well as society for open discussion on future. The discussion can be taken as panel discussion, training courses, Delphi method or scenario development methods. The number of methods used in Foresight exercises comes from forecasting. Forecasting methods used in Foresight might be divided into 3 categories – see Tab.1.
Table 1. Division of Foresight methods 6
1. Methods based on eliciting expert knowledge to develop long-term visions and scenarios.
• Expert panels
• Scenario analysis workshops
• Delphi method,
• Cross impact analysis
2. Quantitative methods using statistics and other data to develop forecasts
• Trend extrapolation
• Simulation modelling and system dynamics
3. Methods for identifying key point of action to determine planning strategies
• SWOT analysis,
• Critical/Key technologies
• Relevance trees
• Morphological analysis