Forecasting recognizes that there is more than one possible future and that each plausible future has unique implications for the present.

Forecasting is the description of long-term outcomes that contrast with the present to enable better decision-making. Within an organization there are five possible levels of maturity for forecasting:

  • Ad hoc: Only comfortable alternatives from traditional sources are used as is.
  • Aware: Alternative forecasts are reviewed and prioritized. Additional information is documented to support high priority ideas, with fact-checking done as needed.
  • Capable: A manageable set of alternative futures covering the full range of topics is produced. Alternatives are checked and revised so that they tell a coherent story.
  • Mature: A systematic process is in place to produce a set of alternative futures. Exploration of all plausible options is an integral part of developing alternatives.
  • World-class: An optimal set of alternatives covering representational points from the highly probable to the extremes of what’s plausible is generated to provide coverage of the system.

Are you watching for road signs that indicate which of several possible futures may be unfolding?

Next discipline: Visioning.