How does TechCast differ from Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and the many other business forecasting services?
These forecasts are usually based on the judgment of one analyst, but TechCast pools the judgment of a global brain trust of 130 experts to create “a scientific consensus.” In fact, TechCast uses the published technology forecasts of Gartner and other groups as inputs to our broader process of pooling knowledge. Our goal is to synthesize the best available information to produce the best possible answer to tough questions.
How accurate is TechCast?
All forecasts are wrong to some extent, but the past ten years of TechCast operations show that the error in our technology forecasts averages +3/-1 years at 10 years out. Controversial issues may show above average variation, while less controversial items are remarkably consistent. If the existing level of uncertainty is defined as 100%, TechCast reduces it to about 30%. This level of accuracy is sufficient to “get us into the right ballpark,” which is adequate for most applications.
Aren’t “quantitative” forecasts more accurate?
Quantitative forecasts may produce precise answers, but they are always based on assumptions and methods that may not be accurate, which is why quantitative forecasts can differ considerably. TechCast provides more accurate forecasts because we incorporate quantitative forecasts into our system to resolve this uncertainty.
Why do the results of TechCast change?
TechCast is operated online in real time, so data inputs are constantly changing as new experts join us, as experts update their estimates, as our research staff redefines questions, and as we generally strive to improve the system. Managing this system is a challenge, and it can produce odd results at times. But the aggregate results remain quite steady, which is what one hopes for in a forecast. The big advantage is that TechCast data are continually refreshed to provide the most current results possible.
Why are some technologies and social trends missing?
There are infinite innovations underway, so TechCast focuses on the 10 or so most strategic trends in each of our fields, or roughly 70 emerging technologies, 30 social trends, and 30 wild cards in total. Strategic forecasts have wide scientific interest, big commercial potential, crucial social impacts, high confidence, and are immediate enough to take seriously. In other words, they have greatest strategic implications and are most likely to affect your organization and you personally.