Chapter 2: This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Future: Tools to Forecast Technological Innovations and Strategies
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. V: Strategy in Innovation


This article, by L.D.W. Anderson, discusses five forecasting methods along with the power and purpose of each method. Methods discussed include trend analysis, trend extrapolation, cross impact analysis, the Delphi method, and scenario development. There is one sample graphic for each of the tools. Forecasting can be a key element in formulating effective strategic plans in education, health care, manufacturing, construction, utilities, retail, transportation, information management, government, and additional technical areas such as renewable energy. Forecasting is neither art nor science; it is an elegant combination of both. Formal forecasting tools provide a systematic and practical framework to explore the future. Adoption and implementation of technological innovations are more likely to be successful if studied in two specific ways. First, to be most successful, study the technology in advance of any commitment. Second, provide the opportunity for the people involved to acknowledge their normal human bias. This article goes further to discuss paradigms that will allow decision makers to reduce biases when using forecasting tools. The tendency to think of forecasting as a good guess causes some leaders to shy away. Forecasting is not just a good guess. Forecasting is a sophisticated tool to navigate to practical and important technological innovations.
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