Technology Foresight as Innovation Policy Instrument: Learning from Science and Technology Studies

  • P. Warnke
  • G. Heimeriks

There is a variety of interpretative frameworks for giving meaning to FTA activities (see Barré and Keenan in this volume). In this contribution we would like to explore an interpretation of Foresight from the perspective of the interdisciplinary body of knowledge that has become known as STS — Science and Technology Studies (c.f. Jasanoff et al. 1994). Drawing in particular on STS insights on the “social shaping of technology”, we would like to investigate the possibility of Foresight to support policy makers in influencing innovation trajectories according to societal needs.

The study of technological developments is a complex issue. First of all, technologies are not given in nature, but man-made constructs; they are the products of cultural evolution. The various actors involved may use different definitions of technology. Furthermore, technologies are continuously evolving in a social context. With the further development of technologies, their definitions and relevant perspectives may also have to change. These definitions and perspectives, however, are basic to the discursive traditions studying technology and its relevant contexts. We distinguish several perspectives in the study of technology: STS dealing with social and economic co-evolution of technology, and science and technology (S&T) policy analysis and R&D management through foresight. We argue that the combination of these three perspectives challenges us to consider technological change as a complex and reflexive process. From this combined perspective, it is implied that taking a holistic view on the future by looking at societal and technological elements together and aligning or even integrating companies and users visions on the future is not at all an easy thing to do. To actually develop socio-technical future visions Foresight needs to look at societal development and technological possibilities with the same degree of openness and expertise. STS results may give some indications for Foresight practice aiming to adopt such a holistic approach.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. M. Akrich, (1992) Beyond social construction of technology: The shaping of people and things in the innovation process, in M. Dierkes and U. Hoffmann (eds.) New Technology at the Outset: Social Forces in the Shaping of Technological Innovations, Campus/Westview, Frankfurt/NY, Chapter 9, pp. 173-190Google Scholar
  2. W.B. Arthur, (1988) Competing technologies: An overview, in G.C. Dosi, R. Freeman, N.G. Silverberg and L. Soete (eds.) Technical Change and Economic Theory, Pinter, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. W.E. Bijker, T.P. Hughes, T.J. Pinch (eds.) (1987) The social construction of technological systems - New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. W. Bijker, J. Law (eds.) (1992) Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Socio-Technical Change, MIT, Cambridge, MA, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. M. Borup, N. Brown, K. Konrad, H. Van Lente (2006) The Sociology of Expectations in Science and Technology. Technology Analysis & Stategic Management, Vol. 18, No. 3/4, pp. 285-298, July-SeptemberCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. S. Collinson (1993) Managing product innovation at Sony: the development of the Data Discman. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 285-306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. R. Cowan (1992) High technology and the economics of standardization Chap. 14, pp. 279-300, in M. Dierkes and U. Hoffmann, (eds.), New Technologies at the Outset - Social Forces in the Shaping of Technological Innovations, Campus/Westview
  8. A.P. David (1985) Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. American Economic Review, Vol. 75, pp. 332-337Google Scholar
  9. G. Dosi (1982) Technological Paradigms and Technological Trajectories: A Suggested Interpretation of the Determinants of Technological Change. Research Policy, Vol. 11, pp. 147-162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. F.W. Geels (2004) Processes and Patterns in Transitions and System Innovations: Refining the Co-Evolutionary Multi-Level Perspective. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Vol. 72, pp. 681-696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. F.W. Geels (2002a) Technological Transitions as Evolutionary Reconfiguration Process: A Multi Level Perspective and a Case Study. Research Policy, Vol. 31, pp. 1257-1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. F.W. Geels (2002b) Towards sociotechnical scenarios and reflexive anticipation: using patterns and regularities in technology dynamics. in KH Sørensen and R Williams (eds.) Shaping Technology, Guiding Policy: Concepts, Spaces & Tools, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 359-385Google Scholar
  13. F.W. Geels, W.A. Smit (2000) Failed Technology Futures: Pitfalls and Lessons from a Historical Survey. Future, Vol. 32, pp. 867-885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. L. Georghiou (2001) Third generation foresight - integrating the socio-economic dimension, In Technology Foresight - The Approach to and Potential for New Technology Foresight, Proceedings of the International Conference on technology Foresight, NISTEP Research Material, vol. 77 2001 (March)Google Scholar
  15. M. Hård (1993) Beyond Harmony and Consensus: A Social Conflict Approach to Technology Science. Technology & Human Values, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Autumn), pp. 408-432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. M. Hård (1994) Technology as Practice: Local and Global Closure Processes in Diesel Engine Design. Social Studies of Science, Vol. 24, No. 3 (August), pp. 549-585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. M. Hård (2002) Cultural Politics in Action: Developing User Scripts in Relation to the Electric Vehicle. Science Technology and Human Values, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 262-281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. A. Havas (2005) Terminology and Methodology for Benchmarking Foresight Programmes, Prepared for the For Society project, Tasks 1.4 and 3.1Google Scholar
  19. S. Jasanoff, G.E. Markle, J.C. Petersen and T. Pinch, (eds.) (1994) Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, London & New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  20. R, Kemp (1994) Technology and the Transition to Environmental Sustainability: the Problem of Technological Regime Shifts. Futures, Vol. 26, pp. 1023-1046CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. R. Kemp, J. Schot, R. Hoogma, (1998) Regime Shifts to Sustainability through Processes of Niche Formation: The Approach of Strategic Niche Management. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol. 10, 175-195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. K. Konrad, (2004) Prägende Erwartungen. Szenarien als Schrittmacher der Technikentwicklung edition sigma, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  23. T. Könnölä, V. Brummer, A. Salo, (2006) Diversity in Foresight: Insights from the fostering of Innovation Ideas, Helsinki University of Technology, Systems Analysis Laboratory, Research Report E19Google Scholar
  24. R. Kline, T. Pinch (1996) Users as Agents of Technological Change: The Social Construction of the Automobile in the Rural United States. Technology & Culture, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 763-795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. S. Kuhlmann (2001) Management of Innovation Systems the role of Distributed intelligence, Maklu-Uitgevers, AntwerGoogle Scholar
  26. B. Latour (1983) Give me a laboratory and i will raise the World, in Knorr-Cetina, M. & Mulkay, M. (eds.), Science Observed, Sage, London, pp. 141-70Google Scholar
  27. B. Latour (1986) Science in Action, Open University Press, Milton KeynesGoogle Scholar
  28. B. Latour (1988) How to write “The Prince” for Machines as well as Machinations, in B. Elliot (ed.) Technology and Social Change, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 20-43Google Scholar
  29. J. Law, M. Callon, (1992) The life and death of an aircraft: a network analysis of technological change, in Bijker, W. and Law, J. (eds.) Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Socio-Technical Change, MIT, Cambridge, MA, London, pp. 29-52Google Scholar
  30. L. Leydesdorff (1997) The Non-linear Dynamics of Sociological Reflections. International Sociology, Vol. 12, pp. 25-45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. B-Å Lundvall, S Borrás (1998): The Globalising Learning Economy: Implications for Innovation Policy Brussels: Commission of the EU. (170 pages). http://www.cordis.lu/tser/src/globec.htm
  32. D. MacKenzie, J. Wajcman, (eds.) (1985) The Social Shaping of Technology: How the Refrigerator Got Its HUM, Open University Press, Milton KeynesGoogle Scholar
  33. B.R. Martin, R. Johnston (1999) Technology Foresight for Wiring Up the National Innovation System. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 60, pp. 37-54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. N. Oudshoorn, T. Pinch, (2003) (eds.) How Users matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. A. Rip, J.W. Schot (2002) Identifying loci for influencing the dynamics of technological development, in K.H. Sorensen, R. Williams (eds.) Shaping Technology, Guiding Policy: Concepts, Spaces & Tools, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK pp.155-172Google Scholar
  36. J. Rotmans, R. Kemp, M. van Asselt (2001) More Evolution than Revolution. Transition Management in Public Policy. Foresight, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 15-31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. S. Russel, R. Williams (2002) Social shaping of technology: frameworks, findings and implications for policy, in K.H. Sørensen, R. Williams (eds.) Shaping Technology, Guiding Policy: Concepts, Spaces & Tools, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UKGoogle Scholar
  38. A. Salo, K. Cuhls (2003) Technology Foresight - Past and Future. Journal of Forecasting, Vol. 22, pp. 79-82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. R. Smits, S. Kuhlmann (2004) The Rise of Systemic Instruments in Innovation Policy. International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, Vol. 1 No. 1/2, pp. 4-32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. K.H. Sørensen, R. Williams (eds.) (2002) Shaping Technology, Guiding Policy: Concepts, Spaces & Tools, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UKGoogle Scholar
  41. P. Swann (1990) Standards and the growth of a software network, in J.L. Berg, H. Schumny (eds.) An Analysis of the Information Technology Standardization Process, Elsevier Science/North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp. 383-393Google Scholar
  42. A. Tubke, K, Ducatel, J. Gavigan, P. Moncada (eds.) (2001) Strategic Policy Intelligence: Current Trends, the State of Play and Perspectives, IPTS, SevilleGoogle Scholar
  43. B. van der Meulen (2003) Integrating technological and societal aspects of ICT in Foresight Exercises Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis Nr. 2, 12. Jg., Juni 2003 pp. 66-74Google Scholar
  44. H. Van Lente (1993) Promising Technology - The dynamics of Expectations in technological Developments, Eburon, EnschedeGoogle Scholar
  45. M Weber (2006) Foresight and Adaptive Planning as Complementary Elements in Anticipatory Policy-making: A Conceptual and Methodological Approach, in J.-P. Voß, D. Bauknecht, R. Kemp (eds.) Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 189-222Google Scholar
  46. A. Webster (2002) Response to Prof. Remi Barre’s Foresight and Their Themes, Paper presented at The Role of Foresight in the Selection of Research Priorities hosted by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, MayGoogle Scholar
  47. R. Williams, D. Edge (1996) The Social Shaping of Technology. Research Policy, Vol. 25, pp. 856-899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. S. Woolgar (1991) Configuring the user: The case of usability trials. In J. Law (ed.) A Sociology of Monsters: Essays on Power, Technology and Domination, Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Warnke
    • 1
  • G. Heimeriks
    • 2
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI)KarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Dutch Advisory Council for Science and Technology PolicyNetherlands

Personalised recommendations