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From forecasting to foresight processes-new participative foresight activities in Germany

Kerstin Cuhls
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Kerstin Cuhls: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe, Germany, Postal: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe, Germany

Journal of Forecasting, 2003, vol. 22, issue 2-3, 93-111

Abstract: The definitions of forecasting vary to a certain extent, but they all have the view into the future in common. The future is unknown, but the broad, general directions can be guessed at and reasonably dealt with. Foresight goes further than forecasting, including aspects of networking and the preparation of decisions concerning the future. This is one reason why, in the 1990s, when foresight focused attention on a national scale in many countries, the wording also changed from forecasting to foresight. Foresight not only looks into the future by using all instruments of futures research, but includes utilizing implementations for the present. What does a result of a futures study mean for the present? Foresight is not planning, but foresight results provide 'information' about the future and are therefore one step in the planning and preparation of decisions. In this paper, some of the differences are described in a straightforward manner and demonstrated in the light of the German foresight process 'Futur'. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Date: 2003
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