Based on a decision taken by the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, a sectoral and nationwide Technology Foresight exercise was proposed. This approach aims at enabling the Government’s intention of uplifting key sectors through improved operation of limited national resources. It results in selecting public policies needed to align scare resources for supporting assimilation of technology by the industry. Additionally, Technology Foresight fosters increased rate of national innovation. This is achieved through the rigorous application of those Technology Foresight strategies, techniques, and methodologies that have proven successful in other countries, and are also conducive to our country’s milieu.
According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Technology Foresight is the systematic process of visualizing science, technology, society, and economy in the long-term, with the purpose of building consensus to identify technologies, which will cause the greatest social and economic benefits.
Technology Foresight in Pakistan has been implemented to provide valuable inputs to strategy and policy planning as well as to mobilize collective strategic actions. It aims at doing so by:
- identifying potential opportunities for the economy or society from new science and technologies, and considering how future science and technologies could address key future challenges for the Pakistani society.
Pakistan’s Foresight program involves constructively bringing awareness of long-term challenges and opportunities into more immediate decision-making. It looks beyond normal planning timescales to identify potential opportunities from new science and technologies. It, then take actions to help realize these opportunities. It brings together scientists, technologists, businesses and consumers, with those who can help deliver benefits. This leads to a systematic process for discussions on the future.
The consultations facilitate identification of policies and projects. The starting point for a policy or a project recommendation is a key issue where science holds the promise of solutions (e.g. information and communication technologies, in which Pakistan has already invested considerably). In addition, it may be an area of cutting edge science where the potential applications and technologies have yet to be considered and/or articulated more broadly (e.g. biotechnology, nano-technology). Foresight policies and projects will:
- Encourage the creation of new networks between science, business and society
- Have the support of at least one of the interested communities (Government, research funders, business, etc)
- Add value to existing activities and initiatives with the scope to deliver outputs that would not otherwise be achieved.