When outlining the future, you should remember that the future always involves uncertainty and there are several possible ways in which the future could pan out. Futures can be assessed by observing the current situation. In which directions are things developing? What kinds of tensions or conflicts are there at the moment? This is referred to as environmental/horizontal scanning.
When assessing the ways in which the future may unfold, you should draw a distinction between trends and weak signals. A trend describes a visible change, while megatrend refers to a major, rather imminent global change. A weak signal, on the other hand, is a sign of an emerging phenomenon or the first symptom of a change that might be significant in the future. They are considerably more difficult to identify than trends, because they typically seem ridiculous, unbelievable or irrelevant.
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