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2X2 Scenario Exploration System

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An open source, creative commons (Attribution, Share Alike 4.0 International License) foresight gaming system designed by John A. Sweeney.

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2X2 Scenario Exploration System

  1. 1. 2X2SCENARIO EXPLORATION SYSTEM
  2. 2. The 2X2 scenario matrix is one of, if not, the most widely used and easily accessible foresight methods. 2X2 SES
  3. 3. The 2X2 scenario matrix is one of, if not, the most widely used and easily accessible foresight methods. 2X2 SES Millett (2003) calls it the “gold standard of corporate scenario generation.”
  4. 4. Using two critical uncertainties to create four quadrants, the 2x2 method necessitates additional inputs to create depth and complexity for each scenario. The 2X2 scenario matrix is one of, if not, the most widely used and easily accessible foresight methods. 2X2 SES Millett (2003) calls it the “gold standard of corporate scenario generation.”
  5. 5. Curry & Schultz (2009) and Ramirez & Wilkinson (2013) note the various manifestations of this tool and its value as a methodological “mash-up.” The 2X2 scenario matrix is one of, if not, the most widely used and easily accessible foresight methods. 2X2 SES Using two critical uncertainties to create four quadrants, the 2x2 method necessitates additional inputs to create depth and complexity for each scenario. Millett (2003) calls it the “gold standard of corporate scenario generation.”
  6. 6. As with any tool or method, the 2X2 approach has utility for some things but not everything. It has been critiqued for being too reductive. 2X2 SES
  7. 7. I AGREE! 2X2 SES As with any tool or method, the 2X2 approach has utility for some things but not everything. It has been critiqued for being too reductive.
  8. 8. I AGREE! As a researcher and practitioner, I was never drawn to using 2x2’s, but this changed while working on a project for the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. 2X2 SES As with any tool or method, the 2X2 approach has utility for some things but not everything. It has been critiqued for being too reductive.
  9. 9. JRC SCENARIO EXPLORATION SYSTEM 2X2 SES
  10. 10. 2X2 SES I co-developed the JRC SES with Aaron Rosa (@rorosoro) from the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies. We built the JRC SES alongside colleagues at the JRC, who had already developed scenarios using the 2X2 approach, and we were tasked with creating an experience that would allow participants to explore and deepen each scenario. JRC SCENARIO EXPLORATION SYSTEM
  11. 11. 2X2 SES A complete report on the JRC SES is forthcoming.
  12. 12. Like the JRC SES, the 2X2 SES aims to help participants explore and deepen scenarios, but it was also designed to enliven this popular method, and the 2X2 SES works as a half- or full-day facilitated exercise. 2X2 SES
  13. 13. 2X2 SES Here’s how it works… Like the JRC SES, the 2X2 SES aims to help participants explore and deepen scenarios, but it was also designed to enliven this popular method, and the 2X2 SES works as a half- or full-day facilitated exercise.
  14. 14. 2X2 SES Once both axes are identified, participants populate each quadrant.
  15. 15. 2X2 SES Horizon lines (5-10-20 years) help participants produce complex content. Once both axes are identified, participants populate each quadrant.
  16. 16. 2X2 SES After a few drivers and/or forces have been put into each quadrant, participants identify four actors or stakeholders that will have an impact or be impacted across each quadrant. Horizon lines (5-10-20 years) help participants produce complex content. Once both axes are identified, participants populate each quadrant.
  17. 17. 2X2 SES After a few drivers and/or forces have been put into each quadrant, participants identify four actors or stakeholders that will have an impact or be impacted across each quadrant. Horizon lines (5-10-20 years) help participants produce complex content. If participants struggle with identifying actors, and they might depending on the axes, then four generic actors can be inserted: business, government, media, public. Once both axes are identified, participants populate each quadrant.
  18. 18. 2X2 SES Once four actors have been identified, participants rank each actor’s resource capacity and/or power in each quadrant. This requires facilitation, and I try to make sure that each quadrant has a different actor ranking, which is important to provide a meaningful learning experience and produce critical insights.
  19. 19. 2X2 SES1. Business 2. Media 3. Government 4. Public 1. Government 2. Business 3. Public 4. Media 1. Media 2. Public 3. Business 4. Government 1. Public 2. Media 3. Government 4. Business Once four actors have been identified, participants rank each actor’s resource capacity and/or power in each quadrant. This requires facilitation, and I try to make sure that each quadrant has a different actor ranking, which is important to provide a meaningful learning experience and produce critical insights.
  20. 20. 2X2 SES Participants create actor-specific goals given the conditions of each quadrant.
  21. 21. 2X2 SES Participants create actor-specific goals given the conditions of each quadrant. Goals should be future-oriented and highly actor-specific. The aim in creating goals is not to reinforce linear, target-oriented thinking but rather to highlight the complex dynamics of change. Government Goal Eliminate debt
  22. 22. 2X2 SES Participants create actor-specific goals given the conditions of each quadrant. Goals should be future-oriented and highly actor-specific. The aim in creating goals is not to reinforce linear, target-oriented thinking but rather to highlight the complex dynamics of change. Actor goals should be placed beyond the last horizon line and act as a public guidepost.
  23. 23. 2X2 SESThe Center for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, where I serve as Deputy Director, uses black elephants, black swans, and black jellyfish—a concept we developed—as part of our Three Tomorrows method.
  24. 24. 2X2 SES Black Elephants are events or things forecasted to have a “high impact,” but they are unaddressed for various reasons, such as global warming. The Center for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, where I serve as Deputy Director, uses black elephants, black swans, and black jellyfish—a concept we developed—as part of our Three Tomorrows method.
  25. 25. 2X2 SES Black Elephants are events or things forecasted to have a “high impact,” but they are unaddressed for various reasons, such as global warming. The Center for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, where I serve as Deputy Director, uses black elephants, black swans, and black jellyfish—a concept we developed—as part of our Three Tomorrows method. Black Swans are “high impact” events or things that appear “out of the blue” and might seem unlikely or improbable, such as meteors.
  26. 26. 2X2 SES Black Elephants are events or things forecasted to have a “high impact,” but they are unaddressed for various reasons, such as global warming. The Center for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, where I serve as Deputy Director, uses black elephants, black swans, and black jellyfish—a concept we developed—as part of our Three Tomorrows method. Black Swans are “high impact” events or things that appear “out of the blue” and might seem unlikely or improbable, such as meteors. Black Jellyfish are small things that can escalate into “high impact” events through the phenomena of positive feedback, such as jellyfish blooms.
  27. 27. 2X2 SES Let’s see how this works with an actual 2X2 scenario.
  28. 28. Here are two axes: Climate Change & Responsive Governance 2X2 SES
  29. 29. 2X2 SES The top right quadrant would be a scenario in which climate change and responsive governance are both high. Here are two axes: Climate Change & Responsive Governance
  30. 30. 2X2 SES Here are the Actor rankings: 1. Government 2. Business 3. Public 4. Media The top right quadrant would be a scenario in which climate change and responsive governance are both high. Here are two axes: Climate Change & Responsive Governance
  31. 31. 2X2 SES Here are the Actor rankings: 1. Government 2. Business 3. Public 4. Media The top right quadrant would be a scenario in which climate change and responsive governance are both high. Actor rankings should follow the basic scenario logic, which is to say the context derived from the axes, although participant input is crucial to ensure buy-in. Here are two axes: Climate Change & Responsive Governance
  32. 32. The higher an actor’s ranking the more resource tokens they are given. 2X2 SES
  33. 33. The higher an actor’s ranking the more resource tokens they are given. 2X2 SES Resource tokens allow actors to achieve their goal, and each action card requires one token to play.
  34. 34. The higher an actor’s ranking the more resource tokens they are given. 2X2 SES Resource tokens are limited and use a high/medium/low division: High resource allocation Medium resource allocation Low resource allocation Resource tokens allow actors to achieve their goal, and each action card requires one token to play.
  35. 35. The higher an actor’s ranking the more resource tokens they are given. 2X2 SES Resource tokens are limited and use a high/medium/low division: High resource allocation Medium resource allocation Low resource allocation Each color is given a numeric weighting Red = 3 Amber = 2 Green = 1 Resource tokens allow actors to achieve their goal, and each action card requires one token to play.
  36. 36. 2X2 SES Here’s a sample action card (not to scale). fund climate engineering initiatives
  37. 37. 2X2 SESAction cards are placed near the center of the matrix and participants work outward in each quadrant.
  38. 38. 2X2 SES The three lines indicate time horizons, and these mark the point at which Disruption Cards can be introduced, which should be after each participant has had at least one turn. When an actor plays an action card, they must place a resource token to weight their move. Each action card played should help each actor achieve their goal, which should remain public. Action cards are placed near the center of the matrix and participants work outward in each quadrant.
  39. 39. 2X2 SES Action cards are placed near the center of the matrix and participants work outward in each quadrant. The three lines indicate time horizons, and these mark the point at which Disruption Cards can be introduced, which should be after each participant has had at least one turn. When an actor plays an action card, they must place a resource token to weight their move. Each action card played should help each actor achieve their goal, which should remain public. The actor with the most resource tokens should be the first to play in each quadrant. This reinforces their advantage.
  40. 40. 2X2 SES A newly played action card must border at least one existing action card. New action cards must take into account any action card they border; each player’s explanation must reference all bordering action cards.
  41. 41. 2X2 SES A newly played action card must border at least one existing action card. Each player’s explanation of their new action card placement must reference all bordering action cards.
  42. 42. 2X2 SES A newly played action card referencing a bordering action card could mean: reacting to, intentionally ignoring, and/or including it. A newly played action card must border at least one existing action card. Each player’s explanation of their new action card placement must reference all bordering action cards.
  43. 43. 2X2 SES After each participant has had at least one turn, participants place Future Impact Tokens (FITs), which can be placed on any card to weight an action’s future impact. Each participant places three FITs, and they can only place one FIT on their own action card.
  44. 44. 2X2 SES FITs act as multipliers for resource tokens, and this dynamic creates an actor-specific scoring system. After each participant has had at least one turn, everyone places Future Impact Tokens (FITs), which can be placed on any card to amplify an action’s power. After each participant has had at least one turn, participants place Future Impact Tokens (FITs), which can be placed on any card to weight an action’s future impact. Each participant places three FITs, and they can only place one FIT on their own action card.
  45. 45. 2X2 SES FITs act as multipliers for resource tokens, and this dynamic creates an actor-specific scoring system. So, purple has the highest score. 3 FITs X Red (3) resource tokens makes for a score of 9. After each participant has had at least one turn, participants place Future Impact Tokens (FITs), which can be placed on any card to weight an action’s future impact. Each participant places three FITs, and they can only place one FIT on their own action card.
  46. 46. 2X2 SES Action cards with tokens. Disruption (black elephant) Here’s how the first round should look on the board. Actor goals
  47. 47. 2X2 SES Here’s a completed quadrant. Ending with a disruption is optional, but I prefer this as it leaves the scenario more open-ended.
  48. 48. 2X2 SES Once the final round is over, participant scores are calculated. The player with the highest score at the end is the winner. Here’s a completed quadrant. Ending with a disruption is optional, but I prefer this as it leaves the scenario more open-ended.
  49. 49. 2X2 SES Facilitating a conversation about actor-specific goals is crucial. Critically discussing the limitations of “winning” is central to the experience.
  50. 50. 2X2 SES After the first scenario is played, the process repeats for each quadrant. Participants should keep the same role (or actor) to experience how their capacity or power changes in each scenario. This is one of the key learning outcomes of this tool.
  51. 51. 2X2 SES After the first scenario is played, the process repeats for each quadrant. Participants should keep the same role (or actor) to experience how their capacity or power changes in each scenario. This is one of the key learning outcomes of this tool.
  52. 52. 2X2 SES After the first scenario is played, the process repeats for each quadrant. Participants should keep the same role (or actor) to experience how their capacity or power changes in each scenario. This is one of the key learning outcomes of this tool. Play at least two or all four scenarios depending on the length of your workshop.
  53. 53. 2X2 SESThe 2X2 SES is open source and available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
  54. 54. 2X2 SES Got questions? Suggestions? The 2X2 SES is open source and available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
  55. 55. 2X2 SESThe 2X2 SES is open source and available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. John A. Sweeney Deputy Director, CPPFS sweeney@eastwest.edu cppfs.eastwest.edu Got questions? Suggestions?
  56. 56. 2X2 SES REFERENCES A. Curry and W. Schultz. “Roads Less Traveled: Different Methods, Different Futures.” The Journal of Futures Studies. (2009). S. Millett. “The Future of Scenarios: Challenges and Opportunities.” Strategy and Leadership. (2003).
 R. Ramirez & A. Wilkinson. “Rethinking the 2X2 Scenario Method: Grid or Frames?” Technological Forecasting and Social Change. (2013). 
 Special thanks to Zhan Li and Sandjar Kozubaev, who provided substantive insights and feedback on this tool. As always, Aaron Rosa’s influence and insights abound!

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