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Forecasts

"The future is unevenly distributed" : William Gibson, August 1993

But, now you can instantly see where the uneveness (opportunities and threats) exists through exploring these Forecasts and quickly determining your response.

Quick guide

Now Try This

Search for any FORECAST of interest then examine the presented list or try opening the word cloud and/or exporting to an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis.

Didn't find what you were looking for?
There are several strategies you can employ to obtain better results. Click here for search advice.

User Guide

Instant literature review and desk research
By automatically extracting future related statements from 'Insights' (web articles, PPT slides and PDF reports), the system creates instant forward ‘FORECASTS about probable and possible future world conditions and turns these into literature reviews, desk research and reports, tag clouds, tree and mind-maps at will.

A forward 'Forecast' is a statement about the future of a single, relevant topic that is automatically extracted from a publicly available source enriched with collected attributes e.g. country or time horizon. Example: 'By 2020 China will be the largest economy in the world'.

The system's data model uses many thousands of forward FORECASTS, gleaned from our extensive database of added Insights since September 2013 and turns embedded information into future knowledge. We are continuing to add to this database at the rate of 800 new forward FORECASTS per week through our global scanning network of contributors.

By querying the FORECASTS database with well constructed, search terms the system will present the gist of the subject's future in an easily read listing. The search process also allows you to choose to see only statistical FORECASTS or to separate likely futures from uncertainties as the basis for creating future scenarios.

Search
Select from the following search terms singly or in combination:

  • Keyword: search the text e.g. Putin or manufacturing AND/OR systems. 
  • Year: choose a start and end year
  • Country: e.g. China
  • Topic: search the topics e.g. energy (type-ahead)
  • Statistics only: choose to only see quantitative foresights
  • Scenarios: select ‘likely’ to view only probable/predetermined futures
    or select ‘uncertain’ to view only possible/feasible futures

Listing
Clicking Search will produce a listing of relevant Indicators together with a short and very raw description taken from the previous and next sentence in the Insight. We are working hard to provide cleaner descriptions right now.

Tag, Refer, Report 
You can use these capabilities to gather FORECASTS for later consideration (Tag), to create drivers from several FORECASTS (Refer) to prioritize using the site Delphi tool or prepare customized lists of drivers for distribution to your associates (Report).

Cloud 
Now click the Cloud button to see which words are the most mentioned and likely themes/drivers of change mentioned in the FORECASTS. The Cloud may also indicate direction of travel of the driver e.g. 'growing', 'decreasing' and which other drivers may be altered by its impact. Search FORECASTS for more of these words, particularly the most mentioned or those that appear new or strange from the context of your research.

Export 
The listings can be immediately exported to an Excel spreadsheet for parsing to a text analyzer, mind map or document editor. It can also be used as the base evidence for creating research briefs and PowerPoint presentations. Just delete or modify spreadsheet rows to suit your purpose then transfer what remains to your brief or presentation.

Click the Export icon to export to Excel.

Column 1 shows the title of the Forecast and column 2 a description of the Foresight taken from the sentences preceding the title. The description therefore may have embedded extraneous characters but is provided only to add more context to the title where required.

To avoid overloading the server, export each page separately but keep the spreadsheet open. The system will then aggregate all the pages in the open Excel sheet.

WebSummarizer
Paste your Excel spreadsheet into websummarizer.com * (Plain Text) and obtain a:

  • Visual summary: offers interactive content maps you can navigate in your browser by keywords to instantly see the key summaries in context
  • Tree View: provides a draft research brief
  • Keyword Cloud: shows the top ten words used in the spreadsheet

and export to HTML, RTF, Mind Manager, XMind, I Thoughts, MindGenius

* WebSummarizer is a third party service. (30 day free trial and maximum subscription of $69.99 per year). Queries about this software should be addressed to WebSummarizer.com. Shaping Tomorrow accepts no responsibility for the use of WebSummarizer software or services.

Philosophy
FORECASTS is designed to present multiple perspectives of the future; not one future. The future is unknowable but we can see where the multiple sources, that the system draws from, agree on likely futures and where they do not.

FORECASTS takes ideas, assumptions, predictions and forecasts from many sources and presents them in one list for you to to determine which are the plausible, possible and probable futures affecting your world. All 'Indicators' are linked to their original source as evidence and for further reference.

Some FORECASTS will therefore support each other and others will contradict each other. It is for you to do further research and to use our THINKing methods, to determine your best picture of potential futures, set your course, act on what you now know and make course corrections as the future unfolds and new and changing 'Indicators' are noticed.

We regret we cannot accept responsibility for any subsequent decisions you make using the FORECASTS.

Some members will be looking for the needle in the haystack such as possible, future terror attacks and will want to use flimsy evidence whereas others will need strong, supported evidence of future issues. FORECASTS caters for both.

Members can use FORECASTS to:

  • Develop their initial question
  • Scope reports at the outset of a project
  • Validate their structure and findings at the end of a project.

Development
This new service is unique and experimental. We know it is not perfect and we are working hard to improve it. For instance, we are now looking to add a sector analysis and a dynamic, rather than static, Word Cloud.

We would appreciate receiving any comments on how you are finding it and ideas for its development.

 "I've just used the Forecasts function to see if I'd missed anything for a presentation I'm doing on university libraries, and got some great stuff. Easy to use and good to not have to read all the original sources (although I did track a couple of them back to the original). Think you might have a winner here!"
Maree Conway, Thinking Futures, Australia

Please contact us using the free-form message box below with your thoughts.

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