The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Participatory Approaches to Foresight and Priority-Setting in Innovation Networks

Ville Brummer

Doctoral dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Information and Natural Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium E at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 23rd of June 2010 at 12 noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 978-952-60-3226-9)   [333 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-952-60-3225-2)


In innovation networks, participatory foresight activities can typically have several functions. They can be seen as a tool for supporting decision-making on science and technology (S&T) priorities, but they can also be expected to contribute to the structures of a network beyond the scope of decision making. Foresight activities are often limited by tight timeframes, budgets and they need to be synchronized with other S&T processes. In this setting there is a need for tools that reflect foresight process owners' visions on trade-offs between objectives that are more important than others, and goals that can be achieved, given relevant constraints.

This thesis develops, deploys and analyzes decision analytic methodologies for participatory foresight and priority-setting. The methodology enables foresight managers to adjust their foresight process to serve multiple goals and place emphasis on the objectives that are seen as most important. Foresight processes can be adjusted to meet the desired objectives by i) selecting a suitable "unit of analysis" for the analysis and discussion, ii) defining an appropriate composition of stakeholders for the different phases of the process, iii) different uses of decision analytic methodologies and iv) varying emphases on internet surveys, decision analysis, and face-to-face workshops.

This thesis consists of six articles, where variants of the methodology are applied in different contexts. The articles include reflections from foresight activities carried out in support of management processes in Finnish industry clusters and in international research programs. They also include case studies from public S&T policy making, supporting the identification of small niche areas as well as providing input for decision-making on national innovation policies.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 6 publications:

  1. Totti Könnölä, Ville Brummer, and Ahti Salo. 2007. Diversity in foresight: Insights from the fostering of innovation ideas. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, volume 74, number 5, pages 608-626. © 2006 Elsevier Science. By permission.
  2. Totti Könnölä, Ahti Salo, and Ville Brummer. Foresight for European coordination: developing national priorities for the Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform. International Journal of Technology Management, forthcoming. © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises. By permission.
  3. Ville Brummer, Totti Könnölä, and Ahti Salo. 2008. Foresight within ERA-NETs: Experiences from the preparation of an international research program. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, volume 75, number 4, pages 483-495. © 2008 Elsevier Science. By permission.
  4. Ville Brummer, Ahti Salo, Juuso Nissinen, and Juuso Liesiö. A methodology for the identification of prospective collaboration networks in international R&D programmes. International Journal of Technology Management, forthcoming. © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises. By permission.
  5. Ahti Salo, Ville Brummer, and Totti Könnölä. 2009. Axes of balance in foresight – reflections from FinnSight 2015. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, volume 21, number 8, pages 987-1001. © 2009 Taylor & Francis. By permission.
  6. Ville Brummer, Ahti Salo, and Margareetta Ollila. 2009. Balancing incentives in thematic priority-setting for collaborative innovation networks. In: Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Management of Technology: "Closing the Innovation Gap: Theory and Practice" (EuroMOT 2009). Glasgow, Scotland. 6-8 September 2009. © 2009 by authors.

Keywords: participatory foresight, S&T priority setting, multi-criteria decision analysis, group decision support, participatory decision making, expert engagement, technology management, innovation networks

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© 2010 Aalto University School of Science and Technology

Last update 2011-05-26