From the Archives...
[The Manual, page 202, 1983]
An extract from the Manual that was originally published by Taylor Management
Centers in Boulder, Colorado.
Forecasting is the process of identifying a larger future context within
which you, your organization, your opportunities and problems exist. Effective
planning and decision making must take into account probable future conditions
which affect your options so that you can design in anticipation of them.
Forecasting takes many forms. Professional futurists often develop sophisticated
technical, mathematical, and computerized forecasts. Yet, conceptual forecasting
can be developed by individuals and groups without sophisticated knowledge
Conceptual futures forecasting demands question asking. For example:
- If this is happening now, what are the possible consequences?
- For this to come about, what needs to happen when?
- For this to come about in ____ years, what should be happening today
and where should I look for these trends?
- What do we know about the life-span of various configurations such
as corporations, universities, governments, social systems, etc.?
The art of comprehensive forecasting includes synergy. The principle
of synergy states that the behavior of whole systems is unpredicted by
the behavior of the parts. This premise leads to a corollary; if you know
a system you can predict the existence of unknown parts and then go looking
for them. A conceptual, cybernetic understanding of change will provide
you with a method to find systematic discoveries of new options before
they are "seen" by the experts.
Two basic methods, scenario building and the
Delphi technique, are useful in formulating
long range comprehensive forecasts. Good documentation and data management
systems (IDDS) bring precision to forecasting. Inspectional
reading is a tool for gathering quality documentation and data.
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