Uwe Christian Plachetka / Focus Arbeitsseite / Evaluation Sheets /
Futur German Foresight Exercise
Method recommended by Siedschlag's papers
Characterization of Futur: Method mix (see description below)
Quotation: Futur is not a classical Foresight activity but consisted of a series of Foresight activities taking place in Germany over a number of years. These activities included a key technologies project (Technologies at the Beginning of the 21st Century) and national Delphi surveys (Delphi '93, Mini Delphis, Delphi '98). International comparisons were also conducted as a part of national Foresight. After general elections and a change in the government, a new more participatory approach was aimed for. Instead of a Delphi, a different mixture of methods was to be applied. The aim of the exercise was to break with the conventional decision-making process for agenda-setting and prioritisation, which was characterised by a closed and rather opaque interaction between research institutions, industry, project managing agencies (Projektträger) and ministerial bureaucrats in charge of research funding. There was no overall systematic approach to developing new projects or guiding research, technology and education, although the different BMBF departments have their own approaches to identifying subjects that have to be supported. The ministry's strategists were increasingly concerned about the risk of missing important new issues if the funding agenda is based solely on traditional mechanisms driven by the actors involved. Therefore, Futur aimed to bring in interdisciplinary ideas from the demand-side so that new projects or programmes could be developed.
End of quotation: http://forlearn.jrc.ec.europa.eu/guide/6_examples/futur.htm#Background
(Quot) ''The major outcomes of the process are intended to be interdisciplinary, problem-oriented "Lead Visions" (Leitvisionen). They are intended to reflect the demand for research and be translated into publicly funded research programmes or projects. Participation of a broader audience in various kinds of activities and the combination of different creativity, communication and analytical tools are additional characteristics of the process.The Lead Visions, as the tangible output of the Futur process, are not intended to be utopian visions but to include pragmatic, normative features within a broader framework. They aim to:
In Futur, the tangible outputs were the Lead Vision papers, which contain:
Networking seems likely to be an intangible output from such a workshop-based Foresight exercise, but it is difficult to demonstrate. Interdisciplinarity seems to be supported as people from different communities and different disciplines have to work together. Fostering discussion about the future among the interested public was also an aim but Futur is still relatively unknown in Germany.
indicate the average cost of implementation of the method (economic [€] and human resources [man-hour]).
Permanent foresight exercises: This caused the costs of Futur to rise to about €3 million a year, compared to the Delphi '98 study which cost about €800,000 over its whole time frame (from 1997 to 2000), including publications such as the report, a book, 8 newsletters, as well as workshops and a small conference in the end. This sharp rise in costs shows the wide range of potential costs national Foresight exercises can incur.
indicate the average time required to execute the method until the results are obtained. Specify preparation time, implementation time and recompilation/analysis time of the information gathered if suitable.
indicate if user involved in the study, and in which phase (definition of the scenarios, analysis, etc.).How the end-user is involved: indicate how the end-user is involved in study (interviews, questionnaires, workshops, etc.).
The users were defined ex ante.
Lot of requirements for collection of information required, "morphological analysis" as stated by Tosato.
best practices that can be implemented and used within the FOCUS methodology.
indicate the level of difficulty of use of the method and its implementation in relation with FOCUS work plan (there is a 4 month time frame for each thematic scenario development).
(Quotation) The main challenges during Futur were:
Futur was designed as a learning process and in-between many small and large lessons could be learned. Most of them are written down in the evaluation documents which are not published until now. But some major points are:
indicate “possible” required adaptations of the methodology in order to be applied to FOCUS.
Adaptions as suggested by Uwe C. Plachetka:
indicate if the method is supported by any IT tool, or if it feasible to be supported or not by an IT implemented process.
Include the description of the method.
The process was characterized by a permanent foresight
Topic selection on a continous basis. Personal selection to criteria given here: There was no institutionalised co-nomination process, so that the participants were nominated by the consortium, by other Futur participants and they could apply themselves. In addition, there were additional nominations to bring necessary expertise into the Focus Groups, which is the core of the foresight study. Furthermore, there is just one pool of participants, to do away with the division into "inner" and "outer" circle in order to avoid the opaque intra-institutional communication systems.