Report on foresight conference in Astana (Kazakhstan), 5-6 December 2011

“Foresight a Way to View the Future”

A conference under the theme of “Foresight a Way to View the Future” was organized in Astana as part of the Innovation Forum devoted to the 20th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Innovation Forum, which was opened by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Karim Masimov had the main objective to summarise the industrial and innovative development of Kasakhstan throughout the 20 years of its independence and to provide a platform for dialogue on prospective directions of innovative development of the country in the long run.

The Forum brought together representatives of government agencies, international agencies, Kazakhstani business, international partners, as well as existing and potential foreign partners for future collaborations.

Several events were hosted in the framework of the Innovation Forum: The first meeting of the Presidential Innovations Club, which was opened by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan H. E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Lean Technologies Conference, a Commercialisation Conference, the Foresight Conference, an Innovative Projects Exhibition and a Youth Debate Tournament on Innovations.

The Foresight Conference provided the opportunity to discuss preliminary results of the first Science and Technology Foresight in Kasakhstan in 2010 and 2011 with leading international institutions in the planning and orientation of government science and technology policies and the promotion of policy related foresight research that have experience in the establishment of National Foresight Programmes in a diversity of country contexts, such as the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP), the Japanese National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR), the United National Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). Taking into account the high importance attributed to the role of foresight in shaping the strategies to underpin Kazakhstan’s future industrial development, the organizers of the conference highly appreciated the presentation of the European Experience in Foresight Research that was held by AIT. The long list of European foresight initiatives, in which AIT continues to play a leading role have been imperative for the evolution of national and European S&T policy frameworks. The presentation of the European Foresight Platform (EFP) and the INFU project, which provides insights on new innovation patterns, such as open innovations, that will become widely diffused in the future provided a new understanding from a European perspective how foresight may be employed as a strategic tool to achieve a better understanding of plausible long-term scenarios for changing innovation processes and configurations and their implications for society and economy in the context of Kazakhstan’s future industrial development.