Friday, December 9, 2011

Scenarios of the Future as Viewed in 2011

by Gregory H. Watson

Chairman and Academician, International Academy for Quality Past-Chairman and Fellow, American Society for Quality


What does the future hold? Despite its stereotypical image, futuring or studying the future is not about fortune telling, and a crystal ball isn’t used for these analyses. It is not possible to forecast the exact future, but we can think ahead and anticipate options for potential actions that should be considered as the future unfolds. Futures studies combine sound data research with expert opinions. They identify the most likely factors expected to affect the future and present alternative scenarios that represent a spectrum of possible futures. These scenarios do not describe what is expected to happen; instead, they help us to prepare a flexible response to the risks exposed and to cope with the unfolding future better.
Scenario development begins with research to understand the long-term (20-50 years) trends upon which the medium-term (10-20 years) trends are superimposed. The long-term trends are ascertained from scientific analysis of physical, biological, and environmental data. This process uncovers critical elements that may be hidden in short- and mediumterm observations. The long-term trends always are assumed to influence the medium-term trends; however, actions associated with medium-term trends may be considered as potentially mitigating the magnitude of anticipated risks.
The Delphi technique is used to identify likely forces that will drive medium-term change.
Then a spectrum of scenarios is written to expose alternative ways in which these forces might be manifested under a rangeof potential conditions
This report traces the development of the scenarios for the American Society for Quality’s 2011 futures
It describes the long-term environmental factors, explains the driving forces of change, and defines four scenarios for the medium-term future that cover the spectrum from optimism to pessimism. Proposals for dynamic changes in the driving forces are identified, and a call to action for ASQ and the world’s quality
community are presented.

No comments:

Post a Comment