Scenario Methodology

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?

3 Responses to “Scenario Methodology”

  1. Jonathan Simpson Tarling Says:

    Have you tried using social media in any of your scenario building? I’m interested because I’ll be looking at this as part of my MBA dissertation, trying to find examples of how social media has been used (successfully or otherwise) to enhance the scenario building process.

    • Miranda Weingartner Says:

      Interesting topic!
      We used collaborative media – BaseCamp for much of the process, but not social networking in the traditional sense. Do you have any examples you can show us of how social media is used?

  2. Jonathan Simpson Tarling Says:

    Not yet, but I will be conducting my own scenario build using some social media platforms; I will also let you know as and when I come across any examples of this in action – hoping to unearth some interesting cases as part of the research. Best regards

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