How Do You Do What You Do? Predicting the Future


Years ago a asked a colleague to speak on a panel about how she knew what she knew — what did she know that enabled her to her job so well? She told me it was the most difficult exercise. For most of us, we “just do” things without thinking about how we do them, the processes we use to do them. So it is really interesting to hear the inner workings/thinking of people, especially if we can get them to articulate those workings. Just saw this post by Cisco Chief Futurist, David Evans, about doing just that! He looked inward and here’s what he says:

While predicting the future isn’t an exact science, it can be accomplished with surprising accuracy. Here’s how I do it.

1) Scan by casting a wide net: Once the trends are developed, I use a scenario-planning technique that allows me to envision future states from just a few years to decades. I then use a process called “backcasting,” which, in essence, is the opposite of forecasting. With forecasting, you start at a current state to envision what’s possible. With backcasting, you begin at a future state and consider the events that need to occur to enable that scenario. Once these events are identified, I apply a set of filters and use a weighting system to determine their viability. Filters often take the shape of questions. Will a specific technology exist in that time frame to enable a given event? Are there dependent technologies or

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Evolving Net: 4 Scenarios for 2025


Cisco and the Monitor Group’s Global Business Network today published “The Evolving Internet.” ” The report examines the driving forces and uncertainties that will – in whatever combination – shape the path of the Internet over the next 15 years.

In four scenarios – the result of more than a year’s worth of research, data collection and interviews – different potential pathways are described and detailed. The scenarios suggest how a range of critical factors might play out, such as net neutrality policies, infrastructure investments, consumer response to new pricing models, and technology adoption.

One scenario describes a familiar roadmap in which the Internet continues on its trajectory of unbridled expansion and product and service innovation. The other three challenge that future, and in the process illuminate various risks and opportunities that lie ahead for both business leaders and policy makers.” The scenarios are called: Fluid Frontiers, Insecure Growth, Short of the Promise, Bursting at the Seams.

Five trends with “a common foundation for any scenarios on the Internet’s future relate relate to the global composition and governance of the Internet, generational differences, interface technology, and pricing models for connectivity:

Most growth in the Internet-related market will occur outside of today’s high income, or “advanced,” economies. Global governance of the Internet will remain substantially unchanged. “Digital natives” will relate to the Internet in markedly different ways than earlier generations. The QWERTY keyboard will not be the primary interface with the Internet. Consumers will pay for Internet connectivity in a much

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