Monitoring of the operating environment and foresight activities to support strategic decision-making

The foresight activities in the central government are not yet consistent or systematic. The foresight system should support comprehensive knowledge management, i.e. an ecosystemic approach, by creating a demand for foresight information to complement the knowledge base of decision-making.

The audit assessed the national foresight system that supports the Government’s strategic decision-making. Foresight refers to a systematically produced and managed view of future opportunities and risks.

The link between foresight information and decision-making requires appropriate knowledge management procedures. The audit verified that the foresight information underlying decision-making is sufficient to strengthen the quality of the decision-making. The financial impacts of the foresight system consist of the working hours used, the costs of systems and services and the coordination of information. However, it is essential to recognise that, in addition to direct costs, foresight activities complementing the knowledge base may also have significant impacts on central government finances, as it is the knowledge base that determines the quality of the decision or legislation.

An ecosystemic foresight system would support comprehensive knowledge management. The foresight information produced would then be available to all actors, and it would be enriched by its use. The maturity level of anticipatory governance should therefore be assessed based on whether the foresight information process also takes into account the needs of potential information users.

Foresight projects linked to the preparation of policy measures would deepen futures thinking and develop related technologies in the central government. Cross-sectoral or phenomenon-based projects would also harmonise the foresight practices in the Government. Those responsible for preparing policy measures and decision-makers play a key role in increasing demand-based foresight. A demand-based approach would strengthen the link between foresight and decision-making by targeting foresight at the issues that are of key importance to the decision-making and within a predetermined time frame. Through competence development, foresight projects would also strengthen the Government’s capacity to react to sudden changes in the operating environment.