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Quantitative Analysis of Technology Futures: A review of Techniques, Uses and Characteristics

Tommaso Ciarli, Alex Coad () and Ismael Rafols ()

SPRU Working Paper Series from SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: A variety of quantitative techniques have been used in the past in Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA). In recent years, increased computational power and algorithms, web-based searching, and data availability have led to the emergence of new techniques that are potentially useful for foresight and forecasting. As a result, there is now a wide palette of techniques that might be used in FTA exercises. However, it is often unclear how they differ, when the use of a techniques is appropriate, what type of insights it may yield, and how they can be combined. This article reviews and qualifies quantitative methods for FTA in order to help users to make choices among alternative techniques, including new techniques that have not been integrated yet in the FTA literature and practice. We first provide a working definition of Future- Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA) and discuss its role, uses, and popularity over recent decades. Second, we select 22 FTA techniques identified as the most important quantitative FTA techniques and then we review these techniques, discuss their main contexts and uses, and classify them into groups with common characteristics, positioning them along four key dimensions: descriptive/prescriptive; extrapolative/normative; data gathering/inference; and forecasting/foresight.

Keywords: Future-oriented Technology Analysis (FTA); Quantitative Techniques; Foresight; Forecasting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-for
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