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Über dieses Buch

Foresight has experienced a great upswing in the last few years, partly in view of the Millenium. Innovations for our Future describes not only the big development trends of the future in research and technology, but also the re-discovery of the Delphi method. The Delphi method is not new, but with further developed methodology it is being used increasingly to take stock of innovative future developments. The book describes results of the widespread national survey of 1998, a German-Japanese comparison, another comparison with the preceding Delphi study as well as its utilization and implementation.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. History and Basic Methods

Abstract
How will the world develop? What lies ahead? What are the methods to find it out? What role will innovations play? Will we like them? Or will we need to intervene? These are questions affecting the way we shape our future, and answers to them can be sought in a number of ways: from horoscopes, from calculations, based on “feelings”, or with the aid of modern, social science methods. The latter includes the systematic mobilization of the experiential knowledge of appropriate experts. If — as is the case with this book — the topic concerns the future of science and technology, it is the researchers themselves whose opinions are desired. Perhaps personal predicting lies behind this or serves primarily one’s own interests rather than general predictions of the future. This is something we shall see in the future. But can the researchers who work on projects all be wrong?
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

2. Outline of the Second Comprehensive Outline of Delphi Study in Germany

Abstract
The German economy is proud of its high export quotas. The German market is open to international competitors, and Germany itself is at the centre of a far-reaching innovation competition. However, many problem areas remain and make stringent requirements on the economy: setting priorities, the allocation of financial resources, and the strategic orientation of research and development in Germany are all under pressure.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

3. Aggregated Assessments across all Subject Areas

Abstract
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a summary of the overall results of the German Delphi ’98, to bring out the most important general trends and thus also to provide a comparative yardstick for the separate subject areas and topics in the following chapter 4.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

4. The Subject Areas

Abstract
The following chapters are divided up in line with the subject areas. The structure of each subject area is laid out in a comparable manner. In view of the wealth of material, however, not every detail can be shown in each case. The selection of the key topics may appear arbitrary, but is based on particularly clear-cut relationships or subjects which have received special comments from the Delphi experts. This should invite you to identify your own key topics and to set them within your own personal frame of reference.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

5. Megatrends: Stereotyped Thinking Pattern of the Experts?

Abstract
In general linguistic usage megatrends are understood to be social, political or economic developments (e.g. fashion, political preferences) which over a period of years move in a similar direction (e.g. increase in the figures in the annual statistical comparison). Generally speaking, the changes take place gradually and not suddenly. In order to detect them, at certain times in the social sciences the comparative values or characteristics determined in each case with specific variables are taken as the basis for the trend statement and can subsequently be used for further forecasts (Brockhaus Encyclopedia 1993, p. 343).
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

6. Comparison of the Asessments between Delphi ’98 and Former Studies

Abstract
Over 100 topics from the first German Delphi of 1993 survived the critical selection process by the technical committees designed to help ensure their topicality and these items were subsequently queried in an identical manner in the questionnaires of the second Delphi study. A comparison of the results comes directly to mind, because one instinctively asks oneself whether the experts of today share the assessments of the experts questioned approximately five years ago or not.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

7. German-Japanese Comparison

Abstract
As already described, 323, i. e. just a third of the topics were equivalent to the items of the sixth Japanese Delphi Report. This makes possible comparisons in the assessment of future technology. Is the assessment identical to the innovations? Or do we have “national blinkers” on? In terms of ranking, leadership in research and development is essentially the same in the Japanese and German assessment, but on the other hand, the experts of both countries each consider themselves further advanced than their colleagues in the other country.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

8. Selected Methodological Problems

Abstract
The renewed emphasis on government or national (science) and technology forecasting which can be observed around the world is put into perspectives of methodological developments over half this century. This chapter starts with looking back over 50 years of mixed experiences in government or national technology forecasting, as a part of which also the term “foresight” replaced the well-established “forecasting”. While the methodological tool-kit changed from mathematical models to more qualitative scenarios or visions, the application of the Delphi method remained the backbone of many foresight activities. In general, the foresight processes can be compared in terms of their comprehensiveness, their science versus industry orientation, and their analytic versus action-oriented targets.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

9. Outlook

Abstract
To answer the second part of our basic question: We are not fully convinced that our present society has already made optimal use of foresight for its own progress. There is great potential if we look and think ahead. Of course, some people are very sceptical and see no progress in technology and society. For these, foresight is both costly and irrelevant. But they are often the ones who do not notice changes or are afraid of not being able to adapt to changes. Therefore, in their opinion it is better if no changes occur and the status quo is maintained.
Kerstin Cuhls, Knut Blind, Hariolf Grupp

Backmatter

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