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Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung


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Georg Aichholzer, ITA
PDF Icon  Delphi Austria: An Example of Tailoring Foresight to the Needs of a Small Country ()

Open access
doi:10.1553/ITA-ms-01-02
Abstract:
The world-wide diffusion and recognition of Technology Foresight suggests that it is of value for quite diverse types of economies and societies. Its merit as an important tool of strategic intelligence for policy-making also in small countries and transition economies depends on a careful tailoring to specific needs. Practice of Foresight is rather diverse also among small countries, but approaches tend to be more selective in scope, have more specific goals, and put greater emphasis on demand aspects than in bigger countries. Austria s first systematic Foresight programme (completed in 1998) is an example of an innovative approach adapted to the needs of a small country. This contribution shows how Delphi Austria was tailored to a small economy which had undergone a successful catch-up process and how the Foresight process as well as its results have been utilised. The specific goals of Delphi Austria and its approach are explained as a selective, demand-, problem-, and application-oriented Foresight exercise with a number of innovative elements. It has been built on a series of preparatory studies, expert panels, and two parallel large-scale Delphi exercises: a Technology Delphi in conjunction with a Society and Culture Delphi. Experiences with some other innovative elements are outlined: the modification of the classical Delphi towards a decision Delphi; a broader definition of the expert base; the focus on technological as well as organisational innovations; a higher degree of finalisation of measures; and the application of a so-called mega-trends section in a multiple function. The focus of the Austrian Technology Delphi has been on the following subject areas: Tailor-made New Materials (focus on metals); Production and Processing of Organic Food; Environmentally Sound Construction and New Forms of Housing; Lifelong Learning; Medical Technologies and Supportive Technologies for the Elderly; Cleaner Production and Sustainable Development; Mobility and Transport. The results of the Foresight programme are built on a sufficiently broad basis of expertise to be used as an important information source for technology policy-makers as well as other actors of the innovation system, in companies and research institutions. The process of involving a great number of these actors, either as members of one of the panels developing the contents of the Delphi questionnaires or as participants in the Delphi surveys, has already been a deliberately promoted and valuable result of the whole Foresight programme. It has stimulated co-operation and networking which is seen as a strengthening of the national innovation system. Delphi Austria has also raised Foresight awareness and triggered one or the other sectoral Foresight project. In addition to this, it is shown that the results of Delphi Austria have had considerable impact in research and technology policy. They have directly influenced the start of new support programmes (in the field of cleaner production) and measures to support cluster building (food production). And they have been utilised for a newly created technology policy instrument, a programme named K plus, designed for promoting competence centres (centres of excellence): most of the proposals selected are in fields which have been identified as promising in the Delphi study.

Published Online:  2006/02/25 15:26:21
Document Date:  2001/11/30 23:00:00
Object Identifier:  0xc1aa500d 0x0010b27c

Das Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung gibt die ITA manu:script Reihe heraus, in der Arbeitspapiere und Vorträge von Institutsangehörigen und Gästen veröffentlicht werden. Die Reihe wird intern begutachtet und erscheint nur online im PDF-Format.



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epub.oeaw – Institutionelles Repositorium der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
epub.oeaw – Institutional Repository of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
A-1011 Wien, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
Tel. +43-1-515 81/DW 3402-3406, +43-1-512 9050, Fax +43-1-515 81/DW 3400
http://epub.oeaw.ac.at, e-mail: epub@oeaw.ac.at