Beyond the veil - The real value of foresight

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The wide application of foresight would benefit from a common assessment framework that hardly exists. This would require a higher level of reference, i.e. pursuing more generic goals. This is offered by the two concepts of "knowledge society" and "participatory governance". The aim of the research is to develop an impact assessment framework of foresight programmes in developing more participatory "knowledge societies" beyond their specific aims.Research shows that the major impacts of foresight belong to three groups, i.e. in relation to knowledge, network creation, and promoting public engagement in policy-making. At the same time, the major features of modern societies are of three types, i.e. related to knowledge value, to innovation-driven growth and to consequences of a "risk society". Thus, the relevant areas where foresight might contribute are: knowledge, networking, and coping with a 'risk society'. The new framework is built on the features and pre-conditions of more participatory societies and draws upon existing evaluation approaches and concepts ("theory-based evaluation", "knowledge value framework", "behavioural" and "cognitive capacity additionality") to tackle short-comings of earlier evaluation efforts. It is then tested in a case study that demonstrates its feasibility and comprehensiveness and further refines the assessment criteria it is based on. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-291
Number of pages17
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Foresight
  • Impact assessment
  • Participatory societies


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