Foresight studies

The future is uncertain. We know one thing for sure, though: our society and economy are facing major, far-reaching transitions. At TNO Vector we use foresight studies as a way of advising organisations in this area. In this way we create a realistic picture of the future for them.

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Having a clear and concrete vision of the future helps organisations stay innovative. However complex the challenge, a clear end goal helps you develop a vision and strategy. Whether you are dealing with the energy transition, climate adaptation, autonomy over critical raw materials, or any other societal development: collaboration is key. A clear vision of the future is a prerequisite for this.

In a foresight study we employ a number of methodologies to gain an insight into the future of society and the economy, as well as the future prospects of the organisations operating within them.

Foresight through scenario analysis

One of the methods we use for foresight studies is scenario analysis or storytelling. In such a scenario analysis we look at different possibilities for future developments and how to prepare our society and economy for them. By taking different scenarios into account, we get a realistic picture of the impact of policy choices.

At TNO we have a lot of experience of foresight studies on a national scale, with a particular focus on the short term. Using a shift-share methodology, we project these analyses onto smaller or larger regions within the Netherlands. A qualitative analysis then indicates where future challenges are expected to lie in this region.

No picture of the future without system analysis

Finally, system analysis forms an important part of the methods we employ in a foresight study. This involves using a systems approach to reflect on a picture of the future of society – one that goes beyond economics alone. Such an approach is necessary due to the complexity of modern society. We will develop this method further over the coming years.