A key recurring challenge for foresight initiatives – projects, programmes and pilots – has been how to actually demonstrate the value of foresight investments for government sponsors and stakeholders – who are mindful of accountability, are asked to justify the value of foresight investments for government mandates and are requested to provide cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness analysis so that foresight can be compared with other prospective applications of limited government funds.

Impacts are the longer term effects of the interventions initiated through a foresight process. One approach of an elaborated Foresight impact assessment was given in the context of the Fore-Can Project on Animal Health and Food Security completed a three year foresight-based assessment of major challenges and opportunities associated with the future management of animal health and food security systems in Canada. In September 2011,

Among impacts of Foresight recorded from EFP are the following:

  • Better informed in general
  • Justifying more investments in R&D
  • Development of new ways of thinking
  • Creating a language and practice for thinking about the future
  • Better evidence-based policy
  • Creating new networks and clusters
  • Establishing communication structures between innovation actors
  • Collective learning through an open exchange of experiences
  • Better visibility of a region’s strength and competencies
  • Highlighting the need for a systemic approach to both policy making and innovation
  • Interest from the general public
  • Stimulation of others to conduct their own foresight exercise

EFP Brief No. 249: Measuring Foresight Impact