No one can predict societal and technological developments, but we can all, to some degree, shape them. Foresight helps us to perceive current trends in specific topic areas, to structure and interpret them. We use Foresight to make requests and concerns on future developments visible to ourselves and others; and consequently to explore options for actions. Foresight is a method to reduce the complexity of the present, to anticipate different futures and derive strategies for actions today.
Foresight for Policy
In many projects AIT takes on the role of an institution planning and operating publicly funded Foresight processes. The topics of these projects are very diverse. They range from strategic development in research and innovation policy to coping with major challenges such as demographic trends, climate change or resource shortages. But they all have one feature in common: Foresight is always in the public interest. What Foresight approaches can be transferred to organizations and businesses or be adapted? We answer this question based on policy-oriented projects and within the framework of sound studies.
Our understanding of Foresight is strongly influenced by participatory approaches, that is: a stakeholder involvement in the development of future scenarios. What is participation able to achieve, who are the participants and what is the objective of their involvement? It is one of our major goals to discuss and answer these questions and to turn this knowledge into practice in our day-to-day work and in theoretical studies. Discussion points include the balancing of top-down compared to bottom-up approaches. To initiate the latter and to strengthen and explore the function of participatory foresight processes in modern democracies to cope with the "Grand Challenges“ in the future, are only a few of the tasks of AIT.
System Break and Social Change
In order to prevent social turbulences and negative outcomes of certain developments, we must be able to make long-term assessments of these developments. Against the background of the debate on new progress indicators that are not solely based on economic growth, we explore how, for example, social innovations can make a decisive contribution to the integration of marginalized groups and how social innovation can initiate social change.
Players in the economic world face the challenge of remaining capable of acting and planning in a complex world. In a Foresight process, we take a systematic look at the longer-term future with the objecitve to identify the path to a future with the highest economic and social value. Thus a Foresight process helps with strategic planning. The AIT supports companies and sector associations in managing challenges and actively shaping the future. We use new and mainly in-house developed creative processes to work out medium-to-long term future scenarios, which are at the center of strategic development. Corporate Foresight supports the analysis of technological potentials, the identification of new business areas and risk analysis.