By providing a variety of tangible and intangible outcomes, Foresight can improve decision-making, implementation and the ability to cope with future challenges:
Foresight improves the quality of decision making
• Foresight provides guidance for strategic actions being taken today – not only what to do, but how and when to do it.
• It gives visions of the future that provide general information for many people whose own decisions – as to careers, educational qualifications, lifestyle choices – may be informed by views of long-term developments.
• It gives an overview of longer-term possibilities by providing information about specific choices we should (or should not) make today (for example, those that might limit our options some years down the line).
• It allows strategic policy decisions to be based on a wider societal debate.
• It allows decision-making to be based on a greater variety of knowledge sources.
Foresight improves the impact of decision-making
• Foresight helps create a commitment among actors to support future oriented visions. This encourages them to reinforce policy measures directed towards this vision by activities of their own.
• It encourages stakeholders to join forces to achieve common goals than fighting with one another.
Foresight improves the capability of an innovation system
• Within the newly created networks knowledge and new ideas flow more freely across borders, which is vital for innovation.
• A “Foresight culture” means people are better prepared for both the positive and negative effects of socio-economic development and globalisation.
• Foresight creates an increased awareness of possible risks, and hence a basis for more effective contingency planning, and the design and development of appropriate forms of resilience.
• A Foresight culture makes organisations better able to react to changes. It could even result in new decision-making processes emerging in these organisations and the incorporation of Foresight results; for instance companies might start developing scenarios for their investment projects using Foresight outcomes.
• In the competitive and fast-changing world of business, Foresight enhances the capacity to design and manage non-routine events.
Many of the outcomes of an exercise will be identified during evaluation (e.g. identification of “success stories” or examples of “good practice”), which can serve to inspire others to undertake or act upon Foresight, and which can be useful benchmarking aids in the identification and dissemination of good practice.
Briefly, Foresight improves strategic decisions, the impact of strategic decisions and the ability to react to future challenges.