Title: 'Getting there early': strategies for seeking policy influence and anticipating nanotechnology's alternative futures

Authors: Evan S. Michelson

Addresses: Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, 30 Frederick Street, Montclair, NJ 07042, USA

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore a case study that examines strategies for framing plausible nanotechnology futures. Using document analysis and semi-structured interviews, this investigation of the forward-looking information produced by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) shows how an organisation uses foresight to seek policy influence and anticipate nanotechnology's alternative futures. The set of approaches identified and investigated in this research include bringing the future into the present, regularly updating knowledge through repetition, capitalising on the first mover advantage, placing forward-looking information at the centre and periphery of analysis, and ensuring precise timing in the production of anticipatory knowledge. The findings demonstrate the social construction of plausibility and illustrate concrete strategies that can be successfully marshalled to strengthen plausible foresight for policy influence. These approaches also offer a replicable blueprint that organisations from all sectors can take to make foresight relevant and actionable for policy-makers.

Keywords: nanotechnology futures; technology foresight; anticipatory governance; framing; plausibility; case study; policy influence; alternative futures.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFIP.2013.058609

International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, 2013 Vol.9 No.2/3/4, pp.188 - 212

Received: 14 Dec 2012
Accepted: 25 Sep 2013

Published online: 10 Jan 2014 *

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