The Nature Of Visions

From FORwiki

Revision as of 00:53, 13 March 2012 by Dan Grosu (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search
Project Visions and Visioning
File:Vision.jpg This article is developed within the scope of the Project Visions and Visioning, an effort to enhance Foresight learning through collaborative work.

The Nature of Visions is the second lecture from a module on Visions and Visioning, first taught to graduate students from the Communication Faculty of the National School for Political and Administration Studies (Romania).


Conventional wisdom

In the context of future-oriented activities, a vision is an imagined representation or a shared picture of the (usually desired) future.

Visioning is the process of creating a series of images or visions of the future that are real and compelling enough to motivate and guide people toward focusing their efforts on achieving certain goals.

... about visioning

  • the elaboration of shared strategic visions bringing together the viewpoints of the various actors is the most important (intangible) output of a Foresight exercise
  • developing these visions jointly can contribute to a shared sense of commitment and to the normative processes

foresight knowledge

Argumentation forms

  • analogies - making future possible threats and opportunities plausible by analogy of known threats
    • the threats and opportunities of biotech have often been explored on the basis of the experience with nuclear technology
    • nanotechnology is increasingly being compared on the basis of experience with biotechnology
  • counterfactual arguments are also often deployed when we address “what if” questions
  • analogies or counterfactuals, do not allow for predictions but produce prospective plausibility claims, which do have sufficient power to allow us to explore the future


  • equally plausible claims - based on alternative sources of knowledge and lacking any falsificationary power – may conflict
    • these plausibility claims either loose substance or become more persuasive, once empirical research seem to support particular paradigms based on those plausibility claims
  • the argument (an analogy!) of a “greenhouse effect” stated the plausibility of the occurrence of global warming; an analogy which has been strengthened by actual observed temperature rises over the last decade, although this empirical basis in itself will not be sufficient to proof the thesis of the greenhouse effect
    • as for those temperature rises exists alternative explanations

Characteristics of Foresight Knowledge

  • non-verifiable in nature since it does not give a representation of an empirical reality
  • the quality of foresight knowledge is discussed in terms of its plausibility rather than in terms how accurate it is
  • Foresight exercises are therefore often characterized as “explorative” in nature and not meant to produce predictions
  • has a high degree of uncertainty und complexity - uncertainties exists concerning particular causal relationships and their relevance for the issue of concern
  • thematises usually a coherent vision whereby relevant knowledge includes an anticipation of “the unknown”
  • has an action-oriented perspective - identification of ‘threats/challenges/opportunities and the relevance of knowledge for a particular issue whereby normal scientific knowledge lacks orientation, foresight exercise mobilise orientation knowledge, making it possible to a diagnosis of the situation
  • shares a typical hermeneutic dimension of the social sciences - knowledge is subject to continuous re-interpretation
  • is more than future-oriented research: it combines normative (i.e. transformable) targets with socio-economic feasibility and scientific plausibility
  • is per definition multi-disciplinary in nature and often combines the insights of social and natural sciences

Strategic Intelligence

Figure 1: The relation between Strategic Intelligence, Foresight Knowledge, and Anticipatory Intelligence











  • consists of targeted and context-sensitive combinations of explanatory knowledge about phenomena observed, of orientation knowledge, evaluative judgements, and of action-guiding knowledge with regard to strategic decisions
  • necessarily provisional and incomplete in its descriptive aspects
  • dependent on changing societal normative concepts in its evaluative aspects
  • dealing with it leads to a great need for reflection on the premises and uncertainties of knowledge itself,as well as learning


Innovators envision!


visioning vs. focusing

the dangers of visioning


mechanics of change

social representations

corporate visions

senior managers about vision


microsoft vision

Personal tools