CONCLUSION Almost all organizations need technology forecasts to conduct their strategic planning because the technology revolution is transforming products, services and entire industries; it changes the way organizations work and alters the world itself. That is especially true of IT, publishing, entertainment, banking, healthcare, media, defense and other fields changing constantly and facing upheavals. Online learning systems are productive because understanding the coming wave of disruptive technologies is essential for organizational survival.
Apart from technology forecasting, online learning systems hold great promise for pooling the organization's best minds for any purpose. All organizations contain unplumbed tacit knowledge that is vastly underemployed, and online learning systems can tap into that resource for marketing forecasts, customer insights, environmental scanning and strategic planning, to name a few applications. The Web hosts a variety of services for conducting surveys; wikis are proving great for that purpose, and lots of sites are experimenting with survey formats, such as the Technology Review (technologyreview.com) site of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There's no better way to develop a consensus on critical issues, frame scenarios, evaluate strategic alternatives and manage almost any type of decision.
Whatever the method and purpose, all organizations need to develop some type of well-thought plan to forecast and adapt to the wave of technological change that is upon us. There may be uncertainty about specific breakthroughs, but there is very little uncertainty that we are going to see plenty of technological change over the planning horizon.