1 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Management - Department of Business Administration, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften4 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Visualizations have become a vital part of many foresight activities. In the realm of creating scenarios it is stressed to visualize the different scenario as alternative pictures of the future. Corporation such as Siemens for example have developed an own approach called “pictures of the future” to disseminate their ideas on the future of a variety of technologies. And others have made the argument that through visualizing trends in their early stage, these weak signals of change can be injected into an organization. While visualization of foresight results is considered to be very relevant in foresight practice, it appears that in the realm of foresight little is known about what we call the functions and dimensions of visualization. The function of visualizations in foresight speaks from a constructive perspective to the influence visual images have on human perception. Cognitive scientist have argued that humans are able to create a “memory of the future”, a repository of images of the future. As soon as we are confronted with something new the human brain can relate this phenomena to a stored image of the future and react accordingly. This however implies that visions of the future can for instance deliberately be addressed with a product or service offering, relating to such a visualization of the future. This speaks in particular to the influence these visualizations can have. With the dimension of visualizations we refer to a wide range of options how visualizations can be used in the realm of foresight. In particular we consider and differentiate in this discussion the different purposes and different forms visualization can have. The paper draws on an initial empirical study conducted at the Zurich University of the Arts, reflecting on 24 in-depth interviews with trend- and futures-researchers, designers and innovation strategist, was to assess how visualization of foresight results can be applied, reflecting on different purposes and context. The study based insights are then applied to a comprehensive foresight project case in context of electromobility in Switzerland.