The study takes a model of Horizon Scanning approaches defined by the SESTI consortium (Scanning for Emerging Science and Technology Issues), then reviews five approaches to Horizon Scanning from Singapore, Australia, Mateafore, iKnow and Sigmascan against this model, and finally makes suggestions about the implications for an EC Horizon Scanning framework. The key recommendations to EFFLA on HS tools and databases in the EC DG R&I context are:
a) Hub – characteristics and location
There is a tension between the “quality” of the scanning – in the sense of originality, depth etc – and its integration with the policy agenda. Horizon Scanning should be the responsibility of a “Node” of dedicated staff within DG Research & Innovation. These staff would be required both to access a wide range of sources in a neutral manner, and remain sufficiently connected to the sense-making and other stages of the Foresight process to be influential.
Although there will a formalised structure of information gathering, it is important that the “Node” also engages with experts and policy-makers informally and frequently. The node must not become an organisational silo.
b) Relation to Strategic Foresight Processes
Careful consideration should be given to what communication “products” are produced. There is a need to balance information overload with pertinent and timely inputs. “Products” should range from very brief daily email news feeds that people can sign up for, through to major set-piece conferences.
c) Role and characteristics of HUMINT
We can expect an increasing use of semi-automated tools within the HS process, as they permit a wider scope of information search and a degree of avoidance of expert bias. But throughout the study, interviewees have been consistent that deciding what signals will emerge from the noise has to come through debate and conflict. Ideally, the overall HS process should include both manual and semi-autom
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