About the Project

Project Overview
Advisory Board
Project Overview

Project Duration: 1.7.2015 - 30.6.2017

Structure of the Workpackages

Project in process

The Project Team

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI investigates innovation processes at the interface of society, economy, policy and technology. To this end the institute applies a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods such as innovation indicators, scenarios and system modelling. At ISI more than 240 researchers including natural scientists and engineers as well as economists and social scientists work in interdisciplinary teams in more than 350 research and counselling projects for decision makers in policy, industry and society. ISI has excellent links with the other 66 Fraunhofer Institutes that carry out applied research at the very forefront of a wide range of technology domains.

OBSERVE will be set up by a team of researchers from three different Competence Centers of Fraunhofer ISI:

The ISI Competence Center Foresight is supporting future oriented strategy building for clients from policy, industry and civil society. To this end the group is using a wide range of Foresight methods such as horizon scanning, bibliometric analysis, trend scouting, scenario-building, visioning, Delphi, and roadmapping. The group of 12 researchers is one of the leading Foresight teams in Europe and is closely networked with Foresight organisations worldwide.

The ISI Competence Center Emerging Technologies investigates how innovative technologies evolve, spread and influence each other. The team of more than 20 researchers analyze the scientific and economic potentials of technologies and assess their potential uses and impacts with a focus on biotechnology, nanotechnology, health technologies, information and communication technologies, as well as new inteLINKrdisciplinary approaches which result from the interactions of the above.

The ISI Competence Center Policy and Regions explores the mode of operation and changes in research and innovation systems at the supranational, national and regional level. It investigates the various institutions, instruments and strategies in industry, science and government which produce knowledge and technological innovations.

Core Researchers and their focus in OBSERVE

Project Coordination, Horizon Scanning, Sense-Making

Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue, Sense-Making, Horizon Scanning


Advisory Board

Advisory Board

The OBSERVE project is supported by an Advisory Board of outstanding Foresight experts:

  • Dr. Elena Hiltunen is CEO and Founder of What’s Next Consulting Oy. Elena holds a Doctor of Science (Business Administration). She is a leading thinker on horizon scanning methods, in particular weak signal screening, author of a number of key publications on weak signal scanning (c.f. Hiltunen 2008, 2007 and 2006) including the very recent book “future of technology in year 2035” (forthcoming in English in 2014). Elena is board member of European Futurist Conference and Editorial board member of Journal of Futures Studies.

  • Tatsuro Yoda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst Institute for Future Engineering, (Tokyo Japan), a think tank with a key role in advising Japanese Science and Technology Policy for more than 40 years. Mr Yoda specializes in science and technology policy, policy analysis, and technology foresight. He was a key contributor to the technology aspects of Japanese Foresight exercises.  His prior experiences include policy analysis works at the RAND Corporation (1998-2005), and policy coordination and management (civilian) at the Ministry of Defense (Defense Agency at the time) of the Japanese government (1992-1997).

  • Dr. Anne Stenros is Design Director at KONE Corporation, a world leading elevator and escalator company. She has the doctorate in technology in the field of architectural theory from Helsinki University of Technology. In 2005 she was Executive Director of Hong Kong Design Centre. She has lectured around the world and written articles on the theory and philosophy of architecture, design and innovation. She has been appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (FRSA, London) and has been actively contributing to a number of EC high level expert groups.

  • Radu Gheorghiu, Ph.D., is a founding member of Institutul de Prospectiva and advisor for the Romanian Minister of National Education and Research. In the last years, he has coordinated large scale foresight exercises supporting the elaboration of national strategies in the fields of R&D, education and public administration. He has also coordinated the development of a horizon scanning mechanism combining human analysis and machine learning, and published several scientific articles on foresight methodologies.

The board will review the project’s methodology and findings in particular at two critical junctures indicated by the two Milestones: After the end of the Horizon Scanning Phase (Month 8) and upon delivery of the first potential hotspots for Milestone 2 (Month 15). 


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Dr. Philine Warnke

Competence Center Foresight 
Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI 
Breslauer Strasse 48 
76139 Karlsruhe