Based on the author’s review of the literature, they identified five main characteristics which define the technique:
- Its focus on researching the future or things about which little is known,
- Reliance on the use of expert opinion,
- Utilizing remote group processes,
- The adoption of an iterative research process, and
- The creation of a consensus of opinion.
- Numeric – aims to specify a single or minimum range of numeric estimates through the use of summary statistics.
- Policy - on the exploration, generation and definition of several alternatives and the arguments for and against each of these alternatives.
- Historic - aims to explain the range of issues that fostered a specific decision, identification of several scenarios that could have led to the resolution of a past problem.
To comprehensively forecast the answer to their question, they asked three separate questions. The questions were the following:
- What sector of the South African economy will most likely offer the greatest potential for entrepreneurial opportunities in the next 25 to 40 years?
- What qualities are needed by graduates to equip them to be innovative entrepreneurs in the future?
- What should Higher Education in South Africa do to prepare/develop students to constructively participate in the future economy as innovative entrepreneurs?
- The panel for the first question was referred to members of government departments and research councils.
- The panel for the second question was referred to endowed Chairs in the area of entrepreneurship.
- The panel for the third question was referred to alumni of entrepreneurship programs and educationalists and academics in these programs.