Participatory approaches to foresight and priority-setting in innovation networks

Ville Brummer

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


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.
Translated title of the contributionParticipatory approaches to foresight and priority-setting in innovation networks
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Salo, Ahti, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-3225-2
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-3226-9
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • participatory approach
  • S&T priority setting
  • multi-criteria decision analysis
  • group decision support
  • participatory decision making
  • expert engagement
  • technology management
  • innovation networks

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