1. Develop focal issue/question The focal question
– i.e. the question which we seek to understand and answer – serves several functions. It provides the relevance anchor to all subsequent discussions. It also pulls together existing knowledge and creates the platform for further exploration
2. Determine driving forces (key factors)
Driving forces are key factors which influence the future one way or the other. This is a largely subjective and “messy” process. The object is not to “get it right” but rather to bring to mind factors which influence the world in which we must operate. Drivers can be identified across the five broad STEEP categories: Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, Political
3. Choose critical uncertainties
These are the driving forces with the highest unpredictability and potential impact for the future.
4. Build matrix using critical uncertainties
The variability of the critical uncertainties defines the divergent properties of the scenario spaces.
5. Construct scenarios
The scenario narratives of the future should be challenging, plausible, relevant and divergent.
6. Study long-term implications
This is where the exercise bears fruit. Some of the questions to examine include:
* What assumptions have been discredited? What were the surprises? What have we learned?
* Who are the most influential actors? (civil society, governments, corporations, etc.)
7. Identify early indicators
* What “signs” might indicate one or another possible future or future events are coming?
* What may be the “levers” – the trigger events – that could unleash a further chain of events (undesirable or desirable)?
8. Consider today’s implications and policy options
* What were the consequences of policies played out in the scenario?
* How could the scenario futures have been averted or encouraged?