Why I Became a Forecaster?
Almost 20 years ago, after graduating as an electrical and computer engineer and obtaining my MBA, I was trying to solve a forecasting problem I had at work. I was trying to determine new clients and their respective churn for a ten year period in the future. The techniques I was familiar with were not enough. I needed something more, something new. After a long search, I came across s-curves and competition systems analysis. Eventually, this forecast ended up to be one of my best, capturing the key trends of the market for more than a decade.
From that point on, forecasting captured my imagination. So, I’ve been working with these methods ever since, and, after a while, developed my own models and tools, which I tested and improved for almost a decade before deciding to publicize this work. Elsevier has already published three articles I wrote about the future of the mobile business, the future of the global economy, and a new forecasting model that I developed, the Interaction Systems (IS) model. There are other publications as well, in books, forecasting journals, and e-magazines such as Nova Science Publishers, Marketing Research Association Alert! Magazine, GeoPolitica, and more recently in IIF’s international journal of applied forecasting Foresight.
One of these papers, The future of the global economy, published in 2008, just a few days prior to the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, included two forecasts worth mentioning. The first, about a then forthcoming global economic collapse, was verified almost immediately by the events that followed. The second, about the rise of China, reaffirmed the long term growth trend but also anticipated a considerable economic slowdown in China by 2024. Five years later, the first signs of stagnation are already here and many start to talk about the end of the Chinese economic miracle and the need for nationwide economic and social transformation. That and other papers have been frequently cited in social media, the scientific and academic community, as well as organizations and institutions. Most recently the Alert! Magazine paper was cited in a special report produced by the US Department of Transportation regarding Unmanned Aircraft System service demand.
Through my engagement with business, economic, and technology forecasting, I soon realized that the forecasting profession is rapidly evolving, equally assimilating new mathematical or statistical concepts and business or other real life aspects; so, in order to keep up, you need to continuously interact with the business and forecasting community. To that end, I created a web site, the Forecasting Net and the respective LinkedIn group in order to exchange ideas and help increase the visibility of the future by using scientific forecasting, with an emphasis in practical applications. In that context, I also developed the Forecasting Tool, a simple, general purpose forecasting application based on Excel. Both the group and the website grew a lot since they were first created, back in early 2011, now exceeding 1,300 members with high caliber profiles from different nationalities.
The positive reaction I got from all these led me to the next logical step, the establishment of my own company, Global Forecasting Solutions, which provides premium and specialized forecasting solutions, helping customers look further into the future and minimize uncertainty.
I believe the future is full of opportunities, but also full of risks waiting to be discovered. And I can’t think of anything more exciting and useful than drafting possible future scenarios and the strategies to effectively address these challenges. It is a difficult, multidisciplinary task, incorporating both scientific methods and business skills. And it’s definitely not a one man’s job, but the result of the effective collaboration among people of different views and qualities. Being a part of this exiting process is why I became a forecaster in the first place!