Foresight in Applied Research

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Foresight is a scientific method used for building a long-term vision of development, setting directions and goals and in this context planning current tasks.

Foresight goes beyond traditional forecasting, based on extrapolation of trends. It takes into account discontinuities which bring about revolutionary changes on the market. Intuition is not enough. A proven methodology allows us to identify future opportunities and threats and translate them into specific recommendations.

Foresight is a process of creating a culture of thinking about the future in which scientists, engineers, representatives of industry or public administration take part in setting strategic directions of research and technology development in order to bring the greatest economic and social benefits to the economy. Participants in the Foresight project establish priority directions of research jointly creating a vision of future achievements. In addition to ad hoc objectives (building scenarios), Foresight is therefore still important for meeting the demand for scientific, business and cultural know-how, which is fundamental for example for the state’s investment policy in the sphere of research and development.

Elements of “technological” foresight:

  • Identification of key technologies in the future
  • Assessment of opportunities and threats to the technology
  • Identification of actions that should be taken to develop the technology
  • Construction of scenarios

One of the foresight method is PEEST (or STEEP, also in simplified variant as PEEST). PEEST  analysis is a typical method from the field of strategic management (National Foresight Program). It is a method of analyzing the external environment that affects all territorial government units. These external factors are most often beyond the control of companies and sometimes pose a threat to them. PEEST analysis is one of the most frequently used methods in the decision-making process, including setting guidelines for the distribution of Structural Funds. It makes it possible to determine the potential of an area, e.g. by indicating growth or decline, the characteristics and attractiveness of the market and its sustainability (used both in NPF: Poland 2020 and in other projects, especially of the “policy foresight” type).

PEEST  analysis – is a method of analysis that supports the planning process and focuses on the organization’s environment, especially in the macro sense. Hence, the name of the method comes from: P – political environment, E – economic environment, S – social environment, T – technological environment. These factors can be of great importance for the operation of a company, while at the same time they are spheres over which it may not have much control.

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Foresight understand the future

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Using the PEEST method, create a diagnosis of the impact of selected factors on your own organization or company – this is a determination of the extent to which each of the selected factors affects the organization, e.g. education of citizens may have less significant consequences than the current law. Usually it is the single factors that will have the strongest impact and the fate of the organization or company will depend on them.