To identify future traits of the system to be forecasted (STFSTF = System to be forecasted )
The main function of Stage A is to develop a consistent set of future traits of system to forecast and prepare all needed components for answering forecasting question(s). Stage A consists of the application of four complementary studies. Step one works on problem identification and assessment of limiting resources. Step two studies the patterns of evolution regarding a system, identified problems, limiting resources and system’s contexts. Beyond the first two qualitative studies, Step three introduces the quantitative assessment of the growth of selected variables by means of a logistic S-curve using regression analysis. The three steps of study are followed by a harmonization and reconciliation at Step four.
Knowledge acquired within Stage FOR and Stage M is required. Understanding how to apply analytic Tools (see the list below) is necessary. Abilities to analytic work and to communicate with experts are essential.
At least one member of the core team should be familiar with analogical reasoning applied to evolutionary patterns, e.g., the application of the TRIZ Laws of Engineering Systems Evolution to envision possible evolutionary scenarios of technical systems.
Knowledge about global megatrends is welcome.
5 working sessions of 4h each within 20 working days
Access to patent databases, scientific literature, market data, repositories of statistics etc.
Datasheets and catalogues related to the STF and to the relevant subsystems and supersystems identified in stage M; data should be available in the form of time series and not just punctual values about the present.
2-4 analysts + Users of forecast + Invited Experts
System Operator; Contradiction model; Laws of Technical system evolution; Logistic growth curves, regression analysis; ENV models
Software to work with conceptual maps, Software to work with Logistic growth curves and make regression analysis
- Extract limiting resources from problems of STFSTF = System to be forecasted
Identification of problems makes us focus on reasons for future change in a system. Each problem is linked to one or more resources that hinder its solution:
- What are the most critical problems?
- Reformulate set of problems
- Identify limiting resources for the formulated problems
Knowledge about limiting resources supports reliability of interpretation for results from step two and three of Stage A.
- Define set of solutions addressing limiting resources
Explore evolution of the STFSTF = System to be forecasted with its components and context. Use the model of the STFSTF = System to be forecasted from M Add a Tooltip Text, look for problems and solutions already applied to the system. Research past solutions and envision future solutions:
- Recognize relevant patterns
- Envision future technology developments with patterns of evolution and reasoning-by-analogy
- Check coherence of the envisioned future with available information about the context
- Fit data-series about parameters measuring growth of STF or its context.
Quantitative analysis completes an understanding of the system’s future after qualitative studies. Growing variables describe the system from past to present. Fitted data series together with the results of a study in problems, limiting resources and evolution trends, provide a comprehensive view into the future of the STF.
- Collect and clean the data series
- Fit S-curve
- Analyse the quality and the reliability of the fit and improve if necessary
- Build conclusions about future traits for STFSTF = System to be forecasted
Combine the results of the study done in Stage A. The aggregated set of data consists of problems, limiting resources through evolutionary trends and data series fits. Collective overview of this information and data provides understanding of the STF and provide a guideline of future development:
- To assess main features of future STF
- To group (cluster) features into main traits
- It is essential to have the latest version of outputs from Stage FOR and Stage M well-organized.
- Step 1 of Stage A consists in a problem-driven anticipation of future traits of the STF: the forecast is built through a discussion about the expected problems to be addressed and the limiting resources that characterize the STF.
- Step 2 approaches the definition of STF future with a solution-driven logic: possible evolutions of the STF are envisioned by analogy, triggered by generalized patterns of evolution.
- The first three steps can be carried out in parallel, despite the analysis performed at Step 1 is beneficial to better focus the reasoning at Step 2. As well, the outcomes of Steps 1 and 2 are useful to identify relevant variables to analyse with quantitative models in Step 3. Step 4 is done after the final versions of three previous steps are finalized.
- When performing Step 1, it is recommended to formulate problems as contradictions. However, when there is a lack of skills about modelling systems in terms of contradictions, a simplified template can be applied to express a problem: “How to <required action> when <the real-case limits>?”
- When performing Step 1, the unit of measure has to be allocated to each limiting resource. It makes results of study measurable when it is appropriate.
- When performing Step 2, it is recommended to provide the evidence of the identified trends with supporting information (e.g. through patent searches). This practice improves the reliability of forecast.
- In a regular application of the methodology, number of sessions and duration of Stage A depend on competences of working team and availability of required data.
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