Inderscience Publishers

The Austrian foresight programme: organisation and expert profile

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Austria's first systematic Foresight programme, run between 1996 and 1998, is examined as an example of a Foresight approach in a small country. Practice of foresight is rather diverse among small countries, but approaches tend to be more selective in scope, tailored to more specific goals, and putting greater emphasis on demand aspects than in bigger countries. "Delphi Austria", built on a series of preparatory studies, expert panels, and two parallel Delphi exercises, reflects these characteristics including a number of methodologically innovative elements such as the combination of a Technology Foresight with a Society and Culture Foresight. The objectives and approach of this novel element in Technology Foresight is described and exemplary results are presented. Another innovative element which had been developed in the latest German Delphi study, a so-called mega-trends-section in Technology Foresight, is presented and used to examine the general attitudinal profile of the expert base. A summary and a view on the diffusion and implementation of the outcomes of "Delphi Austria" conclude the article.

Keywords: technology foresight, Austria, small countries, methodology, Delphi method, innovations, social foresight, mega-trends, expert base, Germany, comparative

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