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Foresight by online communities – The case of renewable energies

Michael A. Zeng

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2018, vol. 129, issue C, 27-42

Abstract: Web 2.0 offers manifold ways in order to integrate community members via online communities (OCs) for innovation processes. OCs prove to be a valuable and dynamic source of information. External information sources are also important for foresight in order to be able to identify and monitor all relevant changes. However, traditional foresight methods are rather static in comparison with dynamic OCs. Thus, this study gives first insights into the use of OCs for foresight. First, based on literature, it is conceptually shown that OCs can contribute to foresight. Second, the question of how to assess the potential of OCs for foresight is considered. Renewable energies OCs are identified using a netnographic approach. One selected OC is analyzed in-depth by applying a prior developed criteria catalog which is based on Popper's (2008) foresight diamond. Each of its four dimensions – creativity, expertise, interaction, and evidence – is operationalized with measurement items taken from literature. In particular, the evidence dimension is supported by a text mining approach. Lastly, a focus group interview proves the usefulness of OCs for foresight. The findings show that OCs can contribute to each dimension of the foresight diamond and serve as an additional source of information for foresight.

Keywords: Open foresight; Online community; Netnography; Topic modeling; Focus group interview; Renewable energy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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