Foresight Framework

Foresight offers an approach to support transformational change for a more equitable and sustainable global food system. It uses futures thinking and scenario analysis to help diverse food system actors (e.g., rural farmers, food manufacturers, small agri-food businesses, governments) imagine, together, how the future might unfold. Considering future scenarios enables possible risks and vulnerabilities to be understood and mitigated. It also allows for the recognition of opportunities for positive food systems transformation. 

The Foresight4Food Initiative has developed a framework and process to guide foresight and scenario analysis for food systems change. The framework, illustrated below, articulates the different dimensions and approaches in foresight and how they relate to each other. It links a participatory process of stakeholder engagement with a strong scientific evidence base and the use of computer-based modelling and visualisation. The approach starts by understanding how food system actors “see” the food system – their actions, values and interests – and their motivation for engaging in foresight. It maps out and examines how social, technical, economic, environmental and political (STEEP) factors interact within food systems, and how food systems are influenced by the power dynamics between actors.

Please click on each part of the framework to learn more about each element.

Engage all relevant stakeholders to generate shared understanding and commitment for change
  • Gaining multiple perspectives
  • Recognizing foresight as a cognitive, social and political process
  • Using participatory tools and methods
2. Map the system
Map key elements and relationships of food systems and collect and visualize key information
3. Assess trends & uncertainties
Identify and assess key drivers, trends and critical uncertainties of food systems change
4. Construct scenarios
Use scenarios to identify plausible food systems futures given different uncertainties
5. Assess implications
Assess the implications of different scenarios on food systems and for stakeholders’ interests
6. Explore system changes
Explore directions to improve food systems given stakeholders’ visions and scenario implications
7. Generate pathways of change
Develop and adaptively deploy strategies for change that are desirable and feasible
Cycles iteration and adaptation
Utilize science and evidence to ensure well-informed analysis and stakeholder dialogue:
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Systems analysis
  • Empirical evidence
  • Data sets
  • Qualitative analysis and insight from actors
  • Game theory

The food systems model and this foresight approach are then used with the foresight process framework. The foresight process integrates and puts into practice the food systems model and foresight framework.