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Web-based horizon scanning: concepts and practice

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PurposeIn this review, the aim is first to define horizon scanning and then outline the general approach currently employed by many organisations using web-based resources. It then aims to discuss the benefits and drivers of horizon scanning, to identify some organisations currently undertaking activities in the field, and explain in detail how the web-based horizon scanning approach is implemented. The aim is then to conclude with a discussion of good practice and areas for further research. Design/methodology/approachThe basis for this review is a symposium held at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in March 2010, where groups undertaking horizon scanning activities shared practices and reviewed the state of the art. Practitioners from both public sector and private organisations attending this symposium, as well as others, were invited to contribute to the manuscript, developing this as an iterative exercise over the last year. FindingsStructured processes of web-based horizon scanning, underpinned by strong technical understanding and principles of good practice described in the review, can add significant value to organisational decision making. Originality/valueWhile a growing number of private and public sector organisations have already embarked on the use of the web as a key information resource, no detailed explanation of the web-based horizon scanning approach has been published. The review therefore makes an original contribution to this field, with collaborations by horizon scanning practitioners, discussing what constitutes good practice and highlighting areas where future research is needed.
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Keywords: Information management; Internet; Knowledge management; Risk management; Strategic planning; Uncertainty management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 24 August 2012

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