Mapping Futures Studies
In recent decades Foresight and other forward-looking activities (FLA) gained ground as a tool of science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. The number of FLA studies is globally rising. To some extent, foresight is governed by context-depended issues; however there are also common features in the objectives, methodology, and recommendations made. Mapping allows codifying and analyzing a bulk of FLA experiences gained worldwide. This in turn will contribute to enhancing performance of such activities and therefore of STI policy as a whole.
The paper provides rationales for Futures Studies mapping, considers related opportunities and challenges, reviews lessons learned from early mapping efforts. It focuses on the large-scale EU-funded mapping project “European Foresight Platform” (EFP). Using this project as illustration, the paper describes mapping routines, the selected indicators of mapped Foresight initiatives, including their objectives, participants, target groups, methodologies, outcomes and recommendations. It discusses the potential and the limitations of particular mapping tools as well as possible applications of gained knowledge. Basing on mapping results, policy-makers, for example, are able to identify gaps to be addressed with relevant policy tools, Mapping also allows Foresight practitioners to develop strategies for further research and shape expert networks for their implementation.