3.1 Information Needs of the Forecasting Project

Good forecasts are ones that lead to good decisions. Providing the information to make good management decisions implies stretching present knowledge into the future—forecasting—and hence, it also involves uncertainty. However, forecasts alone will not produce enough information for sound decisions. They provide raw material about possible futures to combine with factors such as business objectives and values to fashion wise decisions.

Burgelman, Christensen, and Wheelwright (2009, pp. 4–9) assert that general managers may not need to have in-depth technical knowledge, but they must learn enough to frame strategic questions about technologies and their businesses. They cite Michael Porter (Porter 1985, pp. 1–33), who pointed out that process and product technologies should enable pursuit of the four generic strategies: cost leadership, differentiation, focus segment cost leadership, and focus segment differentiation. He addresses the “value chain”–the entire production cycle from raw materials, component parts, product to retailing of the product and perhaps even the provision of services related to the product. New technologies obviously will impact product market strategies, but they need to be implemented with an understanding of the entire value chain associated with the businesses. This requires not only current information but also projections of technology life cycles and the ability to forecast technology futures using techniques ...

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