Anticipation : summing up



Anticipation  (^)


Anticipation is the cognitive and volitive expectation of some happening in the future.


Anticipation can take the form of:

  • Forecasting : detecting probable/possible futures

    (stress on cognitive dimension)

  • Futurecasting: expressing possible/preferable futures

    (stress on volitive dimension)

Note : There is no a clear divide in methods between the two to the extent that the probable and possible (forecasting) interact with the possible and preferable (futurecasting).



Forecasting  (^)



Forecasting  (^)

Forecasting is Anticipation based on intuition and critical judgement in order to detect patterns of events to come.

Patterns can appear as:

  • Cycles : events that repeat themselves cyclically

  • Associations : events that happen in conjunction with other events

  • Analogies : events that are believed to have the same dynamic as familiar ones


Basic techniques for Forecasting are:

  • Trend Extrapolation

  • Scenario Writing

  • Delphi

Trend Extrapolation  (^)

A Trend Extrapolation is an Anticipation based on the assumption that certain phenomena are likely to continue to manifest themselves in the future (persistence), sometimes with the same dynamic (direction, rate).

An Extrapolation can detect Trends of various type as, for instance:

• Simple Trends

   - linear (e.g. continuous arithmetical increase: 5, 6, 7, 8, etc.)

   - exponential increase (e.g. 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.)

   - cyclical (e.g. seasonal, discontinuous: 7, 7, 14, 7, 7, 14, etc.)

• Period Trends

   - short-term trend: phenomena of limited durability (accidental)

   - long-term trend: phenomena of long durability (fundamental)

• Composite Trends

   - S curves or logistic curves  (e.g. initial invariance, then exponential growth and eventual flattening; e.g. 5, 5, 5, 6, 12, 24, 36, 36, 36, 36)

   - envelope curves (big S curve riding on a series of small s's curves, e.g. phenomena that pile up on top of each other)

Scenario Writing  (^)


Scenario Writing is the attempt to produce many different plausible scripts of future events based on a selection of data/facts/ concepts.

In other words, Scenario Writing is insightful mapping of the future performed by a systematic analysis of the present in order to detect probabilities and possibilities to come.


Scenario Writing can be in the form of:

  • an essay (stress on probable future, e.g. report)

  • a fiction (stress on possible future, e.g. futuristic/utopian novel)

Delphi  (^)


Delphi is a sort of enlarged group Brainstorming where participants (generally experts in a specific field) communicate their ideas about the likelihood of future events or future scenarios to a coordinating centre.

The centre circulates the ideas amongst all the participants with the aim of reaching an ever increasing refinement of individual and collective foresight.



Futurecasting  (^)



Futurecasting  (^)


Futurecasting is Anticipation that expresses ideas and proposals about desirable futures and is at the basis of every innovative short term or long term project.

Futurecasting can be in the form of:

  • Proposed Future

  • Willed Future

Proposed Future  (^)


Proposed Future is any proposal for action that prefigures the desirability of some future state of reality.


Proposed Future can appear in the form of:

  • a manifesto

  • a blueprint

They are meant to arouse interest and attract consensus around a future course of action.

Willed Future  (^)


Willed Future is any plan of action that delineates the way to reach some future state of reality.

In other words, it is the prefiguration/anticipation of the future translated into a strategy for action.

For this reason it is strictly interconnected with Actuation.



Anticipation : summing up  (^)

Anticipation is:

  • prevision of what could happen (Forecasting)

  • prefiguration of what should happen (Futurecasting)

Both Forecasting and Futurecasting prepare the ground for the process of Actuation.


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