Exploring Assumptions & Context: Forecasting

One of the things that makes an adaptive planning process fundamentally different from other types of planning is the assumption that many different futures are possible and you need to be prepared for, or able to, adapt in response to what emerges.

In order to be prepared, it is important to take the time to explore the potential futures ahead. The forecasting techniques below are approaches to exploring the future.

In some ways, these techniques are not dramatically different from a strategic conversation focused on “what if” questions. They ask similar questions and benefit from the various types of expertise that one might want in a strategic conversation about the future. However, they do differ in one very important way: they are systematic, rigorous ways of examining the potential futures. They push the learning to another level, drawing on more than intuition surfaced in group dialogues. For that reason, they can be powerful tools for helping planning groups to take their process to the next level as well.