Technology foresight in the Nordic countries

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    Abstract

    In the globalised knowledge economy, with increased industrial and economic competition, intense pressure is put on companies to be adaptable and innovative. Private and public decisionmakers must cope with rapid technological developments by anticipating new opportunities and threats. This has intensified the search for proper tools that will create strategic intelligence in decision-making systems. In this context technology foresight exercises are regarded effective tools for “wiring up” the innovation system. Nordic technology foresight (TF) is defined as “systematic, future-oriented interaction processes contributing to shared visions concerning long-term technological developments. In the TF exercises, technological developments are examined in their real-world, economic and societal context, with attention to a wide pool of knowledge and the viewpoints of various interest groups. The processes can be broad-scope or more focused. The purpose is to facilitate communication between the interest
    groups and to increase decision-makers’ and key actors’ knowledge base, so that desirable technological developments can be supported with relevant Nordic strategies, decisions and actions. Both analyses and interaction are important in this respect”. The Nordic countries have a long tradition of cooperation within research, education, and innovation. Although the Nordic Council of Ministers aims at “developing Nordic region in next 10 years as the most attractive region in terms of education, research and industry”, there seem to be no effective mechanisms capable of embracing the various activities and initiatives at Nordic level. Here a Nordic technology foresight may be a promising tool in building a Nordic knowledge region. By increasing Nordic competence and competitiveness, and by creating critical mass behind specific proposals, a Nordic TF may act as a gear change between national research and development activities and the larger European research system within Nordic priority areas.
    In the Nordic countries governmental institutions, academia and private institutions have embarked on technology foresight activities, though with varying degrees of intensity and at different speeds. The rationale for Nordic technology foresight activities rests on the common values created through a
    common history and culture and a well consolidated Nordic collaboration within research and innovation. The potentials of a Nordic technology foresight are closely connected with spatial proximity and shared values, as well as with a willingness to exchange experience and to learn from each other. On the other hand, some doubtful concerns stem from the economic and social differences
    among the Nordic countries. Nordic foresight cooperation may also remain as a distant academic exercise if proper links to political and economic decisions cannot be made and maintained. A technology foresight exercise might serve different institutions of the innovation system and the society at large at the same time. The report recommends:
    1. The establishment of a Nordic forum for technology foresight practitioners and researchers.
    2. The creation of a common follow-up system for relevant international technology foresight exercises (including monitoring of selected trends and early signals).
    3. The realisation of technology foresight exercises that involve participants from various Nordic countries (e.g. focusing on specific technologies or problem areas or in selected cross-border regions).
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationRoskilde
    PublisherRisø National Laboratory
    Number of pages70
    ISBN (Print)87-550-3109-9
    ISBN (Electronic)87-550-3110-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    SeriesDenmark. Forskningscenter Risoe. Risoe-R
    Number1362(EN)
    ISSN0106-2840

    Keywords

    • Risø-R-1362
    • Risø-R-1362(EN)

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