Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, Bern

Foresight – using scenarios to shape the future

In the year 2000, the Agricultural Research Business Unit (ARBU) of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) decided to carry out a Foresight Process. Foresight means taking a systematic look at the future in order to be able to draw conclusions about actions taken or not taken in the present. Foresight is applied internationally by a growing number of countries and organisations. The scenario technique seemed to us to be a suitable way of tackling the assignment. The result was two very different, but internally consistent scenarios (alternative ideas of the future). Based on the two scenarios developed, we drew up an outline plan with concrete measures fit to face the future. The results show that as far as organisational measures are concerned, staff motivation and training are key factors. With regard to technical measures, much attention is focused on the topics „health“ and „food safety“. It is now up to decision-makers to determine the extent to which they accept and implement the recommendations of Foresight in strategic business planning.

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