Foresight Tools & Methods

There are many futures methods available. They include creative, descriptive, statistical, opinion, monitoring, scenario, analytical, decision and modeling methods.

Before starting a project or program, examine the different methods which will best achieve the desired outcomes. A mix of quantitative and qualitative methods should be chosen. Methods and tools that allow one to combine different approaches are especially suitable. Spend time examining the pros and cons of each before jumping to a previous solution or one you have heard of in passing. Draw your program design out like the example below.

One way to select suitable methods is to consider the level of uncertainty involved choosing the more sophisticated tools when complexity abounds and the time horizon is far out e.g. scenarios, forecasting, modeling and simulation. When uncertainty is less and the time horizon more near-term then methods like Trend Impact analysis /extrapolation and Delphi methods may be suitable. A methodological competence should be built up within the organization and shared with the users; this is the task of the project or program manager and essential to future skill building.