Foresight and roadmapping for innovation policy
The past decade has seen the rise of innovation foresight initiatives, including roadmapping, toward addressing urgent national and societal needs, from climate change and global health, to national defence and through modernising national economies through advances in digital technologies; these coinciding with efforts to responsibly develop emerging technology applications and capabilities that can potentially enable these aims, such as engineering biology, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. While the focus of such initiatives vary, they all look to facilitate transformative systemic change, change deemed necessary for realising said policy aims. However, such systemic change generally requires radical innovations and new pathways, these often based on technology convergence; an emphasis on cross cutting or platform technologies; incumbent actors to work across disciplines; and include the participation and input of new actors, and these often non-technical, e.g. social scientists, regulators, publics; and involve relatively long development and commercial trajectories – up to several decades if not more.
From a policy perspective, we also suggest that the systemic change sought and the long timeframes involved have the effect of widening the gap between the stated policy goals and the technologies and applications needed to meet them. This gap is comprised of what we call ‘system capabilities’: broadly understood as the intermediary capabilities, functions, and infrastructure required to, over the long term, effectively link technology development and applications to desired policy goals or futures.
Roadmapping Grand Challenges: diversity, commonalities, and socio-technology transitions
Technology-agnostic system capabilities: identifying taxonomy and
national priorities: a UK policy experiment
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Grand Challenges: a roadmapping experiment for the University of Cambridge
Long-term patterns in technological emergence
Evolving social network of innovation communities
Network models for technological emergence foresight