To develop their potential, and find their new role in the emerging EU25+ knowledge based economy, regions need to widen their focus and go beyond their own innovation landscape to explore the European and trans-regional dimension to the full. Foresight is a key element in the creation of future oriented and outward looking visions and strategies. Many regions considering implementing foresight exercises need help to overcome initial barriers, such as doubts about the usefulness and usability of foresight, problems linking foresight to existing regional mechanisms, as well as simply lack of knowledge on how to set up and undertake foresight activities. Easy to understand practical blueprints on how to set up a foresight activities to suit specific regional circumstances could be instrumental in supporting regions to implement regional foresight.
The expert group was set up in December 2003 to develop and encourage the use of regional foresight in support of the implementation of EU policy. It concluded its works with a dissemination conference in Brussels on September 23, 2004. One of the results was the development of five so called "blueprints.
The blueprints are practical guidelines to the setting up and planning of foresight. They are manuals or roadmaps, not foresight exercises in themselves. They build upon real problems in real regions, with strong stakeholder involvement. The five blueprints are: