The Delphi method has been popularised by the US military when they used it to develop forecasts for the evolution of the technological capability of the Russians during the Cold War. Since then, the method has been widely employed to forecast all sorts of scenarios. It is most prominently used in forecasting technological developments, deployment and usage scenarios. Consequently, we deem it a natural fit for the envisioned study.

The fundamental idea of a Delphi Study is to engage a large group of carefully selected experts in at least two rounds of surveys to gain quantitative (and qualitative) insights into a given subject area e.g. the evolution and deployment of an innovative technology. The first round commonly consists of a questionnaire with almost entirely closed questions. The results from the first round are then analysed, consolidated and possibly (partly) interpreted by the project team. Hence, the second round of the survey approaches similar issues using a mix of closed and open questions as well as giving experts the opportunity to revise their original response in light of the results from the first round, which are communicated next to each question.

  • The Delphi method commonly builds on three key features: Anonymity among the panel of experts
  • Obtaining quantitative insights from a well-designed questionnaire
  • Iterative feedback process and consensus building of two or more rounds

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