5.1 Expert Opinion

Rarely do forecasters or managers have sufficient technical depth and a full-spectrum understanding of the business and human dimensions of the technology being forecast. “Expert opinion” is shorthand for a spectrum of factual and tacit knowledge that the forecaster needs but cannot personally supply. Much of this knowledge derives from the superb human ability to synthesize information, an ability that empirical data mining technologies cannot replace. Tacit knowledge can help to interpret existing situations and anticipate future ones, albeit uncertainly. This section considers who to engage and how to engage them to obtain worthwhile input.

5.1.1 Selecting Experts

The techniques used to select experts influence the choice of experts and vice versa. Start by identifying the range of vital perspectives that are needed. Usually, this will yield a diverse cross section of knowledgeable people, stakeholders, and publics. Some concerns about each are:

  • Knowledgeable persons
    • Area of expertise: Area of knowledge may be technological or contextual.
    • Depth of knowledge: Depth may range from world class, which is rarely needed, to that of a graduate student who understands the essentials of the technology.
  • Stakeholders
    • Who they are: The TDS identifies the actors engaged in implementing, using, and dealing with the consequences of the technology
    • Perspective: The analyst must distinguish different perspectives, recognizing, for instance, that the technology users may ...

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