Creating a Framework

10Oct07

One of the tools that a futurist uses is a framework to help discearn where things are, where they have been, and where they are going.  By developing a framework, the futuist is able to have a document in hand that can be the springboard for ideas and planning, but keep the conversation in focus.  Since I’m in the process of writing a framework anyways, I’m going to blog some about the actual process on here as well.

By creating a framework for forecasting, we can begin to imagine what the “official” or “baseline” future is.  Essentiall, this is the most predictable future.  By looking at current trends and expectations, you can extrapolate what the “most-likely” future is.  For example, if the temperature of water is increasing every minute, you should be able to predict at what point it will boil.

In futures studies, however, the “official” future is usually considered to be the most unlikely.  This is because everything changes, and the greatest changes come from wildcard scenarios.  An example of a crazy wildcard would be an asteroid hitting the Earth.  One that should be known to you is the invention and subsequent adoption of the Internet.

The first step of a framework is to choose your topic; your domain.  For the purposes of this blog, I will be focusing mostly on religion and, from that, mostly on the Christian religion.  The framework would then breakdown as follows:

  • Definition: what is included in the domain and what is not
  • Summary: a reader’s digest of the findings
  • Current Assessment: how things are today
    • Current conditions
    • Stakeholders
    • Past Events
  • Basline Forecast: the “official” future
    • Constants
    • Cycles
    • Trends
    • Projections
    • Plans/Goal
    • Expected Future
  • Alternative Futures
    • Discontinuties
    • Uncertainties
    • Alternative Futures

I’ll be working on these things in the coming weeks, trying to find my own definition of the future and exploring the best ways to do it.  The summary comes last, as it is a synthesis of the information I find.

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