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How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future$
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Neil Pollock and Robin Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704928.001.0001

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Venues of High Tech Prediction

Venues of High Tech Prediction

Chapter:
(p.198) Chapter 8 Venues of High Tech Prediction
Source:
How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future
Author(s):

Neil Pollock

Neil Williams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704928.003.0009

Gartner makes predictions on a regular basis but it does not seem to matter if it gets these forecasts ‘wrong’: there appears no decline in number of predictions made, the appetite for this knowledge, or standing of those producing them. How might the chapter explain this paradox? The chapter argues that Gideon Gartner got around problems regarding the accuracy of predictions by shifting this form of knowledge making from the circulation of paper to face-to-face presentations at conferences. Crucially the conference venue allowed analysts to simultaneously state and legitimate knowledge. These venues were deliberately organized to encourage audiences to interact with analysts and evaluate the knowledge presented. Departing from studies that foreground the ‘accuracy’ of predictions, the chapter describes how predictions are subject to more ‘plural’ methods of assessment. The chapter discusses in particular its ‘utility’ amongst Gartner clients, and how Gartner analysts gauge the effectiveness of their knowledge through provoking reactions from audiences.

Keywords:   predictions, forecasts, conferences, charisma, Shapin, field configuring events, error

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