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Innovation Foresight for MEDA Partners in the European Research Area

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Fantastic foresight

The future can be made more achievable with foresight projects, roadmaps and scenarios for success. The EU has helped Mediterranean countries improve their foresight in this respect.

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In the European Community, the term 'foresight' has come to mean the study of future scenarios involving critical thinking about long-term development as well as participatory democracy and policymaking. The EU-funded project 'Innovation Foresight for MEDA Partners in the European Research Area' (Innformed) introduced two new foresight techniques for Mediterranean countries. Called 'Success scenarios' and 'roadmaps', these techniques were communicated to foresight researchers and policymakers via eight workshops in four Mediterranean countries, which took place in 2008. The project and workshops resulted in a set of manuals, processes and documents that assist in applying these techniques. These can also be accessed online for use in foresight initiatives by concerned stakeholders in the region and beyond. The workshops also offered participants the chance to develop relatively concrete plans in one day rather than through a complex system that could take up to one year. The success scenario technique is considered straightforward and easy to apply, while the road-mapping may require more research and work. The latter is ideal for developing socioeconomic systems like research collaboration as opposed to technical systems like new engine components. It also allows users to develop specific action-led plans for particular issues rather than just outlining general high-level issues. The project intended for this material to be used free of charge so it could bring maximum benefit to policymakers, strategists, trainers, educators and other stakeholders. Such an initiative may make it easier to envision a better future and create concrete steps towards realising it.

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