The Delphi Method: a Case Study on Technologies of the Future
Over the last few years, there has been an important development of futures studies on "technologies of the future", also called " critical technologies". This no doubt results, on the one hand from the speed of technological progress and its very numerous components, and, on the other, from the necessity of making trade-offs, especially in terms of R&D investments in relation to the effects which may be expected from them.
Like Japan, which since 1971 has carried out a Delphi enquiry on future technologies every five years, Germany at first, and then France, have more recently undertaken to do the same, even utilizing a method (Delphi) and a questionnaire which were almost identical.
The article below, based on the inquiry
carried out in France in 1994 questioning more than a thousand experts, first of all describes the method by placing it in the context of Delphi enquiries on technologies of the future carried out in other countries.
The authors then present some of the results of this 1994 French enquiry and show the use to which it can be put in future studies and in the development of public research policies. Finally, they show how, thanks to an original method of segmentation, the results of the enquiry can be more finely exploited than usual.