Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system

Mikko Dufva, L. Ilmola-Sheppard, Toni Ahlqvist

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific

Abstract

Foresight is an approach for anticipating future developments in a given topic area. Foresight both explores alternative futures and facilitates discussion on the preferable futures, often aiming to generate shared future perceptions. The shared perception emerges from the interaction between the agents. However, the dynamics through which this shared perception arises has gained little attention in the foresight literature. In this report we study the emergence of shared perceptions in what we call a foresight system. we define the notion of foresight system based on literature on foresight, complex adaptive systems and social constructionism. In this study the foresight system is studied as a subsystem embedded in a wider innovation system. For scrutinizing the construction of shared perceptions, we made an empirical analysis of the written documents generated during the production of the Finnish Government's Report on the Future. Through qualitative analysis guided by text-mining we tracked the conceptual changes documented in the different phases of this process. The concept of growth was the key analytical target. The results show that foresight system does not function as foresight literature commonly anticipates; instead of producing radically new concepts, the foresight project changed the contents of the concepts. In the analyzed material, the concept of growth firstly changed from economic growth to sustainable growth, and, secondly, economic growth was reframed as sustainable growth by decoupling it from material growth. The results imply that intensive interaction during the foresight process supports the reframing. The systems view contributes to the theory and practice of foresight by providing a frame for understanding the interactions between agents involved in a foresight system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis: Engage today to shape tomorrow: FTA 2014 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 27 Nov 201428 Nov 2014

Conference

Conference5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis
Abbreviated titleFTA 2014
CountryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period27/11/1428/11/14

Fingerprint

Foresight
Interaction
Economic growth
Sustainable growth
Decoupling
Text mining
Subsystem
Complex adaptive systems
Empirical analysis
Qualitative analysis
Social constructionism
Government
Innovation system

Keywords

  • foresight system
  • foresight process
  • shared perceptions
  • sensemaking
  • complex adaptive systems

Cite this

Dufva, M., Ilmola-Sheppard, L., & Ahlqvist, T. (2014). Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system. Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis, Brussels, Belgium.
Dufva, Mikko ; Ilmola-Sheppard, L. ; Ahlqvist, Toni. / Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system. Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis, Brussels, Belgium.15 p.
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Dufva, M, Ilmola-Sheppard, L & Ahlqvist, T 2014, 'Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system' Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis, Brussels, Belgium, 27/11/14 - 28/11/14, .

Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system. / Dufva, Mikko; Ilmola-Sheppard, L.; Ahlqvist, Toni.

2014. Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis, Brussels, Belgium.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific

TY - CONF

T1 - Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system

AU - Dufva, Mikko

AU - Ilmola-Sheppard, L.

AU - Ahlqvist, Toni

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N2 - Foresight is an approach for anticipating future developments in a given topic area. Foresight both explores alternative futures and facilitates discussion on the preferable futures, often aiming to generate shared future perceptions. The shared perception emerges from the interaction between the agents. However, the dynamics through which this shared perception arises has gained little attention in the foresight literature. In this report we study the emergence of shared perceptions in what we call a foresight system. we define the notion of foresight system based on literature on foresight, complex adaptive systems and social constructionism. In this study the foresight system is studied as a subsystem embedded in a wider innovation system. For scrutinizing the construction of shared perceptions, we made an empirical analysis of the written documents generated during the production of the Finnish Government's Report on the Future. Through qualitative analysis guided by text-mining we tracked the conceptual changes documented in the different phases of this process. The concept of growth was the key analytical target. The results show that foresight system does not function as foresight literature commonly anticipates; instead of producing radically new concepts, the foresight project changed the contents of the concepts. In the analyzed material, the concept of growth firstly changed from economic growth to sustainable growth, and, secondly, economic growth was reframed as sustainable growth by decoupling it from material growth. The results imply that intensive interaction during the foresight process supports the reframing. The systems view contributes to the theory and practice of foresight by providing a frame for understanding the interactions between agents involved in a foresight system.

AB - Foresight is an approach for anticipating future developments in a given topic area. Foresight both explores alternative futures and facilitates discussion on the preferable futures, often aiming to generate shared future perceptions. The shared perception emerges from the interaction between the agents. However, the dynamics through which this shared perception arises has gained little attention in the foresight literature. In this report we study the emergence of shared perceptions in what we call a foresight system. we define the notion of foresight system based on literature on foresight, complex adaptive systems and social constructionism. In this study the foresight system is studied as a subsystem embedded in a wider innovation system. For scrutinizing the construction of shared perceptions, we made an empirical analysis of the written documents generated during the production of the Finnish Government's Report on the Future. Through qualitative analysis guided by text-mining we tracked the conceptual changes documented in the different phases of this process. The concept of growth was the key analytical target. The results show that foresight system does not function as foresight literature commonly anticipates; instead of producing radically new concepts, the foresight project changed the contents of the concepts. In the analyzed material, the concept of growth firstly changed from economic growth to sustainable growth, and, secondly, economic growth was reframed as sustainable growth by decoupling it from material growth. The results imply that intensive interaction during the foresight process supports the reframing. The systems view contributes to the theory and practice of foresight by providing a frame for understanding the interactions between agents involved in a foresight system.

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KW - foresight process

KW - shared perceptions

KW - sensemaking

KW - complex adaptive systems

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Dufva M, Ilmola-Sheppard L, Ahlqvist T. Emergence of shared perceptions of futures in a foresight system. 2014. Paper presented at 5th International Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis, Brussels, Belgium.