Title: Responsiveness in Foresight Management: Reflections from the Finnish Food and Drink Industry

Authors: Ahti Salo, Totti Könnölä and Mari Hjelt

Status: International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, Vol. 1., Nos. 1-2, pp.70-88.

Keywords: Innovation policy, technology foresight, participatory policy analysis, research and technology programmes.

Based on experiences from participatory foresight exercises and a recent foresight study for the Finnish food and drink industries, we elaborate three overarching objectives for foresight activities, i.e., (i) improved systems understanding, (ii) enhanced networking and (iii) strengthened innovation activities. We also argue that foresight is an inherently creative (and hence uncertain) activity where success depends on how adequately combinations of analytical and communicative methods are adopted in relation to possibly evolving foresight objectives. Specifically, we postulate that responsiveness to shifting stakeholder interests and expectations may be required in the definition and pursuit of foresight objectives; this, in turn, has several implications for decision making structures and methodological choices. Some of these implications are highlighted by describing a foresight study for the Finnish food and drink industries.