Title: Diversity in Foresight: Insights from the Fostering of Innovation Ideas

Totti Könnölä
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland

Ville Brummer and Ahti Salo
Systems Analysis Laboratory
Helsinki University of Technology
P.O. Box 1100, 02015 HUT, FINLAND

Date: May, 2006

Systems Analysis Laboratory Research Reports E19 May 2006


Foresight activities have often provided support for objectives such as priority-setting, networking and consensual vision-building. In this paper, we draw upon complementary evolutionary perspectives and discuss these objectives from the viewpoint of diversity which may be vital in contexts characterized by technological discontinuities and high uncertainties. We also argue that although the scanning of weak signals has been widely advocated in such contexts, the solicitation of ideas for prospective innovations may provide more focused, action-oriented, and comparable reflections of future developments. For the analysis of such ideas, we develop a collaborative foresight method RPM Screening which consists of phases for the generation, revision, multicriteria evaluation, and portfolio analysis of innovation ideas. We also report experiences from a pilot project where this method was employed to enhance the work of the Foresight Forum of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Finland. Encouraging results from this project and other recent applications suggest that RPM Screening can be helpful in foresight processes and the development of shared research agendas.


Foresight, innovation processes, internet-based consultation, multi-criteria decision analysis, portfolio modeling, path dependence