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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2023

Tadhg O’Mahony, Jyrki Luukkanen, Jarmo Vehmas and Jari Roy Lee Kaivo-oja

The literature on economic forecasting, is showing an increase in criticism, of the inaccuracy of forecasts, with major implications for economic, and fiscal policymaking…

Abstract

Purpose

The literature on economic forecasting, is showing an increase in criticism, of the inaccuracy of forecasts, with major implications for economic, and fiscal policymaking. Forecasts are subject to the systemic uncertainty of human systems, considerable event-driven uncertainty, and show biases towards optimistic growth paths. The purpose of this study is to consider approaches to improve economic foresight.

Design/methodology/approach

This study describes the practice of economic foresight as evolving in two separate, non-overlapping branches, short-term economic forecasting, and long-term scenario analysis of development, the latter found in studies of climate change and sustainability. The unique case of Ireland is considered, a country that has experienced both steep growth and deep troughs, with uncertainty that has confounded forecasting. The challenges facing forecasts are discussed, with brief review of the drivers of growth, and of long-term economic scenarios in the global literature.

Findings

Economic forecasting seeks to manage uncertainty by improving the accuracy of quantitative point forecasts, and related models. Yet, systematic forecast failures remain, and the economy defies prediction, even in the near-term. In contrast, long-term scenario analysis eschews forecasts in favour of a set of plausible or possible alternative scenarios. Using alternative scenarios is a response to the irreducible uncertainty of complex systems, with sophisticated approaches employed to integrate qualitative and quantitative insights.

Research limitations/implications

To support economic and fiscal policymaking, it is necessary support advancement in approaches to economic foresight, to improve handling of uncertainty and related risk.

Practical implications

While European Union Regulation (EC) 1466/97 mandates pursuit of improved accuracy, in short-term economic forecasts, there is now a case for implementing advanced foresight approaches, for improved analysis, and more robust decision-making.

Social implications

Building economic resilience and adaptability, as part of a sustainable future, requires both long-term strategic planning, and short-term policy. A 21st century policymaking process can be better supported by analysis of alternative scenarios.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the article is original in considering the application of scenario foresight approaches, in economic forecasting. The study has value in improving the baseline forecast methods, that are fundamental to contemporary economics, and in bringing the field of economics into the heart of foresight.

Details

foresight, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Jari Roy Lee Kaivo-oja and Iris Theresa Lauraeus

Under current market conditions of corporate foresight, turbulence is a key element of the business landscape. Turbulence can be summarised using the trendy managerial acronym…

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Abstract

Purpose

Under current market conditions of corporate foresight, turbulence is a key element of the business landscape. Turbulence can be summarised using the trendy managerial acronym “VUCA”: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This paper aims to combine, for the first time, scientific discussion of technological disruption with the VUCA approach. Gartner Hype Cycle is used as a case example of technological turbulence and “vucability”.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the authors present the key concepts of technological disruption and radical innovation. Both these concepts are highly relevant for modern corporate foresight. Second, the authors discuss the key elements of current technological transformation and summarise it to create a bigger picture. Third, the authors link this discussion to the VUCA approach. Fourth, the authors present the new corporate foresight framework, which is highly relevant for corporations and takes current technological transformation more seriously than previous proposals, which expect more stable business and a technological landscape.

Findings

Key issues in modern VUCA management are agility (response to volatility), information and knowledge management (response to uncertainty), restructuring (response to complexity) and experimentation (response to ambiguity). Useful foresight tools are challenging tools, decision-making tools, aligning tools, learning tools and the ability to combine these management tools in the practices of corporate foresight and management systems. The VUCA approach is a key solution concept to technological disruption.

Practical implications

The authors present the new corporate foresight framework and management tool based on foresight, which help leaders to manage VUCA – especially under the conditions of hyper-competition and technological disruption.

Originality/value

Corporate leaders should reinvent the strategic planning framework and adjust it to the VUCA conditions and simply be more strategic. Traps and typical failures of foresight are adopting it too early, giving up too soon, adapting too late and hanging on too long. In particular, technological transformation with disruptive technologies is changing and challenging many basic assumptions of business management and strategic planning. Our comparative analysis with Gartner Hype Cycle (fast technological changes from 2008 to 2016) verifies this important aspect of technological disruption.

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