Environmental Scanning und Text Mining

Environmental scanning can be thought of as the central input to future research.


All futurists do it in one way or another. It also feeds the processes of issue management and strategic planning.  

  • Step 1

    Identifying potential future issues by scanning the horizon (and beyond) of the corporation's (or nation's) current and planned operating and peripheral environments through the Delphi method with leading experts, text mining and traditional literature reviews. 

  • Step 2

    Researching the background, future, and potential impacts of these issues.

  • Step 3

    Evaluating the issues

  • Step 4

    Developing strategies for anticipatory operations

These different stages usually run in an interlocked cycle of a structural process between an entity that requires the scanning and an entity that performs the scanning. A key feature is the multidirectional feedback flowing through the system giving rise to new requirements between the two entities. 

The output is a database not just as a resource for further studies or inquiries but a current, accessible and transparent window into future relevant developments useful to future researchers, long-term planners and company strategists. 


In the beginning of the Text Mining process, a list of leading organizations contributing research to a topic and prominent keywords highlighting the research emphasis is generated.  Knowing WHO is engaged in WHAT is vital. Further insights into the emergence of a new trend or a technology are crossing this information with publication dates suggesting ‘hot’ topics with increased recent emphasis (WHEN).  Analyzing in which countries or regions particular topics are being pursued adds the aspect of WHERE to the mining process.  

Which information resources are chosen to be mined determine what sort of intelligence is being elicited. 

There are six main types of information resources:

Medium / Message





  Research funding, publication and patent abstracts, citations 

            Technical content sites

           Technical experts


Business, market, policy, popular opinion

Company sites, blogs, etc. 

Business experts

Databases are analyzed first. They are extremely valuable repositories, however, their content lags – it takes time for most sources to make information available. The results are augmented with more current content from the internet.  Here not all sources are reliable; so one should seek enriching the analysis by engaging experts to review the empirical findings and help interpret them.