Mapping: iKnow - interconnecting Knowledge on S&T Issues

iKnow is one of six Blue Sky foresight research projects funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development (FP7) under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) theme. The project is aimed at interconnecting Knowledge on issues and developments potentially shaking or shaping the future of science, technology and innovation (STI) in Europe and the world. There is a general consensus that the kinds of issues addressed by iKnow have often remained out of the "policy radar" and so far have received little attention in forward-looking activities: the identification and analysis of Wild Cards and Weak Signals (WI-WE) and their effects on European and national science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. Wild Cards are the kind of issues that can potentially shake our future; Weak Signals relate to issues that are currently shaping it.

Wild Cards are high impact and low perceived probability events (e.g. unexpected systems failures or sudden transformations resulting from breakthrough or incremental innovations). Wild Cards are often presented as negative events, such as the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States or the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. However, they can also be positive such as the discovery of penicillin by Fleming. Weak Signals are ambiguous events, often referred to as "seeds of change", providing advance intelligence or "hints" about potentially important futures, including Wild Cards, challenges and opportunities. Weak Signals lie in the eye of the beholder and are generally influenced by the mental frameworks and subjective interpretations of individuals with limited information about emerging trends, developments or issues in a particular time and context. Their "weakness" is directly proportional to levels of uncertainty about their interpretations, importance and implications in the short-medium-to-long-term. Thus, Weak Signals are unclear observables warning us about the possibility of future "game changing" events.

Overall, iKnow has two interconnected objectives: (1) To develop and pilot conceptual and methodological frameworks to identify and analyse Wild Cards and Weak Signals (WI-WE); and (2) To assess the implications and impact of selected WI-WE on, science, technology and innovation (STI) and key dimensions of the European Research Area (ERA). To do so, iKnow has used Foresight and Horizon Scanning (FHS) approaches to support the research and technology development (RTD) agenda associated with each objective.

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MODE: VIEW


Annexe 1.4: Scoping Futures (4/7)

Methodology and Work Plan

Step 1: Methods Selection

Q1a: Please indicate the qualitative methods used by/in the study.

Method type Quantity
Brainstorming 7
Conferences/Workshops 7
Expert Panels 1
Interviews 66
Literature Review (LR) 4
Scanning 1
Science Fictioning (SF) 1
TEEPSE Analysis 1
Weak Signals Analysis 5
Wild Cards Analysis 5

Q1b: Please indicate the quantitative methods used by/in the study.

Method type Quantity

Q1c: Please indicate the semi-quantitative methods used by/in the study.

Method type Quantity
Delphi survey 12
Web-based crowdsourcing 1

Step 2: Methods Assessment and Work Plan

Methods Assessment

1. Brainstorming

Supported by Scanning
FLA Phases supported Scoping Futures
Mobilising Futures
Anticipating Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

2. Conferences/Workshops

Supported by Web-based crowdsourcing
FLA Phases supported Recommending Futures
Transforming Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

3. Expert Panels

Supported by Expert Panels
FLA Phases supported Recommending Futures
Transforming Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

4. Interviews

Supported by Scanning
FLA Phases supported Mobilising Futures
Anticipating Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

5. Literature Review (LR)

Supported by Science Fictioning (SF)
FLA Phases supported Scoping Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

6. Scanning

Supported by
FLA Phases supported Scoping Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

7. Science Fictioning (SF)

Supported by Expert Panels
FLA Phases supported Anticipating Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

8. TEEPSE Analysis

Supported by Scanning
FLA Phases supported Scoping Futures
Anticipating Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

9. Weak Signals Analysis

Supported by Science Fictioning (SF)
FLA Phases supported Anticipating Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

10. Wild Cards Analysis

Supported by Science Fictioning (SF)
FLA Phases supported Anticipating Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

11. Delphi survey

Supported by
FLA Phases supported Recommending Futures
Transforming Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

12. Web-based crowdsourcing

Supported by Science Fictioning (SF)
FLA Phases supported Anticipating Futures
Recommending Futures
Strenghts
Weaknesses

Work Plan / Q1: List up to 15 core activities (work packages) of the study. Core activities (also known as work packages) are the main building blocks of foresight and forward-looking activities. Activities are often, but not necessarily, built around methods.

No. Activity/work package Leader/Responsible Work package URL