Technological Forecasting

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What is Technological Forecasting? Meaning.

Technological Forecasting is the methodology and practice of predicting the future state of technology and the extent of its use. It includes all efforts to project technological capabilities and to predict the intervention and spread of technological innovations. It can be used to see how close an existing technology may be to the end of its life, to identify competing new technologies still in their infancy, and to provide insights into possible adoption rates of the new technology.

The facts of the past provide the raw materials from which the mind makes estimates of the future. All forecasts are opinions of the future (some more carefully formulated than others). The act of making a forecast is the expression of an opinion. To be successful, often some level of Lateral Thinking is useful. An extreme form of this is Genius Forecasting. Science Fiction writers have sometimes described new technologies with uncanny accuracy.

There are many examples where intelligent people have been remarkable successful at predicting the future. There are also many examples of wrong forecasts. The weakness in genius forecasting is that its impossible to recognize a good forecast until the forecast has come to pass.

Some psychic individuals are said to be capable of producing consistently accurate forecasts. Mainstream science generally ignores this fact because the implications are simply to difficult to accept. Our current understanding of reality is not adequate to explain this phenomena.

More common tools that are used include the Delphi Method, Dialectical Inquiry, Brainstorming, Mind Mapping, Regression Analysis, TRIZ, Analogical Reasoning, and Scenario Planning.

During technology forecasting, the risks of Groupthink, the Spiral of Silence and also Cognitive Bias should be avoided. When a major technological breakthrough does occur, it takes conviction and courage to accept the implications of the finding. Even when the truth is staring us in the face, we often have difficulty accepting its implications.

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Compare with: Disruptive Innovation  |  Bounded Rationality  |  Causal Ambiguity  |  Stage-Gate

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