The practice and concept of foresight have developed over several decades. However, the academic literature that addresses foresight is mainly descriptive, and it is generally acknowledged that there is a gap between practice and theory in foresight. This article contributes to building the theoretical underpinnings of foresight. The article explores the co-evolution of the academic field of innovation studies and the practice and concept of foresight. The article illustrates that foresight is importing the dominant understanding of innovation from innovation studies with a time lag. Currently, foresight is in a catching-up process vis-à-vis innovation studies by gradually incorporating the implications of a systemic understanding of innovation. The latter is reflected in the current research gaps in foresight. This paper concludes that the concept of innovation system foresight (ISF) constitutes an improved integration of the contemporary understanding of innovation into foresight. Furthermore, the article explores four preliminary implications of ISF on the conceptual design of foresight, including the goal of foresight, system definition and boundary setting, participation of actors, and finally, methods for mapping the present. These four implications also constitute avenues for further research.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2014, Vol 88