Anecdotal evidence collected via Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation students who undertake subjects within the Strategic Foresight Program at Swinburne University, suggests that foresight has something to offer entrepreneurs. This experience has shown that Strategic Foresight can offer the ability to learn to 'see things differently' which is something that budding entrepreneurs find very attractive and useful. Foresight can be identified as occurring at three levels: individual, strategic and social. (1) Individual foresight is used everyday to prepare for eventualities, prevent perceived risks and prospect for opportunities. Futures thinking at this level is a natural human capacity and one which can be 'turned on' in people who have lost it. (2) Strategic foresight aims to use individual foresight in organisationally useful ways. It is the application of futures thinking in groups. The definition of organisation/group is very broad in this context, as it encompasses all of people who come together for a common purpose. Strategic foresight also operates at depth, asking questions about the hidden underlying structures not just the visible surface trends. (3) Social Foresight is the application of futures thinking in socially useful ways and it can used to help equip organisations and communities with the ability to make decisions with long term implications, and to manage complex and difficult situations. A large amount of research has been done on entrepreneurs and the ways in which they recognise opportunities and the attributes that are required for an entrepreneur to be successful. Some of these attributes can be described as 'natural', in that they are aspect of personality that may not easily be learned or taught. There are other attributes that can be learned and it is these, such as skills around opportunity recognition, which can be fostered through foresight.
Proceedings of Regional Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2007: 4th International Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) Entrepreneurship Research Exchange, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 06-09 February 2007 / L. Murray Gillin (ed.),