Understanding some pitfalls in the strategic foresight processes: The case of the Hungarian Ministry of Defense
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This paper introduces a method that was developed for analyzing the strategic foresight process of the Hungarian Ministry of Defense. In 2013-2014, experts of the Hungarian Ministry of Defense applied a strategic foresight method to identify potential threats and opportunities for 2015-2030 period. This work led them to anticipate the broad trends that lead to the European migration crisis and a more confrontative Russian foreign policy. However, in retrospect the methods used were not specific enough about the time frame of these potential outcomes, nor did the Hungarian analysts believe their findings strongly enough. These results generated a lively debate among Hungarian defense experts about how the foresight method could be improved. This paper contributes to this effort by introducing a three-step diagnostic method for foresight processes that applies different analytical frameworks developed in the foresight literature. The first step leverages Voros’ foresight framework, the second step utilizes Rafael Popper's categories of analysis, and step three evaluates the root causes of problems experienced in the foresight study. The paper concludes that the Hungarian foresight process was a so-called “shallow” foresight exercise because the organizational mindset of the Hungarian Ministry of Defense oriented the analysts narrowly towards intelligence methods.
The article of record as published may be found at http://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2018.06.014
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