Forecasting: Look forward, then decide
How to create a simple forecast that can help you strategise
During this summer with aroma of Covid-19, furloughs and pressing social issues, I managed to learn few futurist techniques.
The Institute for the future (fancy name right; and why the name of this entities is always “something something future”? anyway…) teaches a specialisation with bunch of courses on Coursera about how to think like a futurist, create forecast and simulate the future.
I aware that during these uncertain times when is difficult to know how things are going to turn out. Perhaps learning how to forecast can help you anticipate blind spots.
I will explain how to create a quick forecast that you or your company can use to strategically accommodate for the future.
A disclaimer before starting reading further down. Forecasts are not predictions or premonitions. Predictions and premonitions are meant to be accurate, static and true. Forecast are possibilities rooted on examples that are meant to bring you different perspectives on how the future would be.
Use them responsibly.
How to create a quick forecast?
- Pick a driver of change. A driver is the reason why a change is happening. Drivers can be classified into 4 categories, social, technological, environmental and policy. For example, AI is a technological driver and exists because we wanted (and still want) to automate tasks that are arduous or because those tasks could take us a very long time to finish.
- Pick a topic you care about. Name it “The future of ‘topic’ ”. I’m very interested in the preservation of my parents language, Ndowe. Therefore my topic is The future of Ndowe preservation.
- Ask yourself “How might that driver change the topic?” If AI evolves to understand and decipher languages, it will be possible to automate translations, customise products to my parents language, create courses of any subject in Ndowe or maybe using Duolingo to learn Ndowe.
I created this descriptive forecast in 5 min. It is not immersive, or ground breaking. But contains different scenarios that are not mutually exclusive or disconnected from reality. They are plausible, therefore they can be considered to shape a plan, a strategy.
So ponder, is this a future I would like to bring to live? If your answer is yes, what can you start doing something today to get there? What other steps can you take in the coming months, or coming years?
I hope this is useful. Cheers!