What is Foresight?
Let’s explore exactly what foresight is - and is not.
The term foresight is familiar but its use in the context of thinking about futures is quite specific. For me, foresight is a cognitive activity, one that is grounded in an innate human capacity to imagine new futures. We apply foresight in any range of contexts to help people think about futures.
I use Peter Hayward’s definition of foresight:
a cognitive construct, something that an individual assembles in their consciousness, and then acts as if this construct carries significance for the real world … [it is] a capability which operates to increase the biological continuation of a human organism by reducing risk, employing prudence, and taking care.
The term foresight is also used in many different ways as an adjective - for example, narrative foresight, strategic foresight, technology foresight. Here, foresight is considered to be enabled by a neurological process - called episodic foresight - that we all use every day, and which moves from an unconscious mode t…