Future scenarios to inspire innovation

Peter De Smedt, Kristian Borch, Ted Fuller

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    In recent years, accelerated by the economic and financial crisis, complex global issues have moved to the forefront of policy-making. These grand challenges require policy-makers to address a variety of interrelated issues, which are built upon yet uncoordinated and dispersed bodies of knowledge. Due to the social dynamics of innovation, new socio-technical subsystems are emerging, however there is lack of exploitation of novel ideas and sustainable solutions to address these grand challenges. In this paper we argue that issues of how knowledge is represented can have a part in this lack of exploitation. For example, when drivers of change are not only multiple but also mutable, it is not sensible to extrapolate the future from data and relationships of the past. This paper investigates ways in which futures thinking can be used as a tool for inspiring actions and structures that address the grand challenges. By analyzing several scenario cases, elements of good practices and principles on how to strengthen innovation systems through future scenarios are identified. This is needed because innovation itself needs to be oriented along more sustainable pathways enabling transformations of socio-technical systems. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)432-443
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Reflexive inquiry
    • Innovation
    • Scenario practice
    • Grand challenges


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