The Delphi technique was developed in the 1950s by Rand Corporation as a valuable tool for modeling future scenarios. Originally used for military purposes, it was quickly adapted to other fields of research and is now used all over the world. The Delphi process has been employed with great success for new product development, sales and marketing research, evaluation of management methods, in demographic predictions, and in financial arenas. By focusing on eveloving trends rather than existing conditions, it is particularly effective in reviewing the complex subjects businesses are currently grappling with as they interact with the future.
The three qualifications for a traditional Delphi are: anonymity, iteration with controlled feedback, and statistical response (both qualitative and quantitative). Each round poses a series of Likert questions to the group; the answers are then tabulated, and those results are used to form the basis for the next round. Through several iterations, this process synthesizes the responses, resulting finally in a consensus that reflects the participants' combined intuition and savvy, as well as expert knowledge.
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