What is technological forecasting?

Technological Forecasting (TF) is concerned with the investigation of new trends, radically new technologies, and new forces which could arise from the interplay of factors such as new public concerns, national policies and scientific discoveries. Many of these forces are beyond the control, influence and knowledge of individual companies.

Technology Foresight is a combination of creative thinking, expert views and alternative scenarios to make a contribution to strategic planning.

Technology Foresight is a combination of creative thinking, expert views and alternative scenarios to make a contribution to strategic planning.

The future is almost by definition unknown, but in both forecasting and foresight activities the judgements or opinions of experts are used. Experts can be used singly, or in numbers. Different techniques can be applied to provide either a consensus view, a range of opinions, or maverick views. The kinds of exercises that can be carried out vary enormously in their complexity and structure and in the ease with which they can be managed.

The simple expedient of subscribing to a technical journal, or belonging to a network or collaborative R&D project, or finding out what research is being done by a relevant research organization, can all be the first stage towards setting up a more structured approach.

But how can a technological forecast be made to contain probability dimensions in the same way other forecasts do? Most people think of a “technology” as a quite specific physical entity. They do not conceive of this entity as having the variable characteristics which would permit range forecasts or probability statements. To their minds, a precisely defined technology either will exist in a given situation, or it will not. And the forecaster must predict this exact event or else he is wrong. This misconception—which would place an impossible demand on any forecaster—causes much of the confusion in discussions about technological forecasting.

Technological Forecasting - Alan Roper & others Forecasting and Management of Technology
James Quinn Technological Forecasting Harvard
Innovation Portal Wiley & Sons Publisher

 

 

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