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Identification of driving forces of change
Determination of main issues and trends shaping
Clarification of the level of impact and degree of
Establishment of scenarios
Creation of different scenario stories
Exploration of the future
Formulation of the problem / strategic question
Identification of the key-issues characteristic
for the present state
Recognition of factors responsible for the
Identification of the main actors present on the
Understanding of interactions between actors
Understanding of the past and present
Generating policy proposals and
suggestions for action
Development of indicators to measure the
Identification of bodies responsible for
Development of mechanisms for revising the
vision and generating new suggestions in
order to respond to changing conditions
Recommendations and suggestion for
the implementation of the vision
Generation of ideas of what is desired
Agreeing a vision of the desired future
shared by all stakeholders and sections of
Development of the most desirable
Scenario planning is a foresight methodology.
It helps make sense of an uncertain future.
The focus is on making better decisions.
WHY DO IT?
The world is becoming more and more complex.
We are facing significant new challenges and
Decisions taken today will have effects years into
the future, but in what sort of world?
It is increasingly difficult to discern trends and
realities, and to make well-informed decisions
WHY DO IT?
The future is not pre-determined or predicable.
If it were, there would be no point in taking
action today, because it would have no effect on
Full information about the future is never
It makes sense to look for ways to understand the
future to deal with uncertainty.
WHAT IS FORESIGHT?
All our knowledge is about the past, but all our
decisions are about the future.
We create our future by what we do or don’t do
today; it makes sense to try and understand as
best we can what that future might be like before
Foresight is not prediction! It is about getting an
idea about what plausible futures might look like.
We are good at learning from the past; we need
to learn from the future as well – we need to
develop a ‘history of the future’ as we do a
‘history of the past’.
WHY THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE?
What we don’t know we
Most of what we need to know to make good decisions today is outside
our comprehension: we don’t even know it’s there.
All our knowledge is about the past,
but all our decisions are about the future.
“Wild Cards” are low-probability, very-high-
impact events that are
• wide in scope and directly affect the human
• potentially disruptive (negatively and/or
• intrinsically beyond the control of any single
institution, group or individual
• rapidly moving
e.g.: stock market collapse; terrorist attack;
disrupted water, gas or electricity supply; etc.
WHAT IS FORESIGHT?
An approach to thinking about the future which
• free up your thinking beyond the here and
• explore plausible futures (i.e. always more
than one, because “the” future is not pre-
• and think about implications for decision
WHAT IS FORESIGHT?
An attribute, competence or process that attempts
to broaden the boundaries of perception by:
– assessing the implications of present actions,
– detecting and avoiding problems before they
occur (early warning indicators)
– considering the present implications of
possible future events (proactive strategy
– envisioning aspects of desired futures
“what might we need to do?”
“what will we do?”
“how will we do it?”
“what’s really happening?”
“what seems to be happening?”
Foresight “what might happen?”Prospection
of Strategic Options
“Deep” Drivers of Change
Trends, Issues, Themes
WHAT ARE SCENARIOS?
Scenarios are possible views of the world,
described in narrative form (stories) that provide
a context in which one can make decisions.
By seeing a range of possible worlds, decisions
will be better informed, and a strategy based on
this knowledge and insight will be more likely to
Scenarios do not predict the future, but they do
illuminate the drivers of change: understanding
them can only help decision makers to take
greater control of their situation.
• Provides structured process for people to start
‘consciously’ thinking about the longer-term
future and possible implications for strategy
• A creative and shared process that allows time
for reflection about a region and its future.
Scenarios strengthen a strategic management
– traditional methods focus on the past
– scenario planning focuses on the future
Combining both the past and the future makes
thinking about strategy stronger and promotes:
– competitive advantage
Distance into “the future”
F S H
Forecasting Scenario Planning “Hoping”
Why Scenarios? (Ranges of Usefulness)
THE SCENARIO PLANNING
1. Research the driving forces
2. Determine patterns of interaction
3. Create scenarios
4. Analyse the implications
5. Evaluate scenarios
6. Monitor indicators
“Deep” Drivers of Change
What’s really happening?
1 RESEARCH THE DRIVING
Define the major sources of change that affect
the future, whether those forces are predictable
Some of the relatively predictable elements are
local demographics, trends in local land use,
levels of congestion, and mode split.
Less predictable are macro elements such as the
global economy, future availability of funding for
infrastructure, global environmental conditions,
and technological innovation.
THINGS CHANGE ...
“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see
no hope for future development”: Roman engineer
Sextus Julius Frontinus, 1st Century AD
“Heavier than air flying machines are not possible”: Lord
Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1895
“I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers”:
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
“Space flight is hokum”: Astronomer Royal, 1956
THINGS CHANGE ...
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the
way out”: Decca Recording Co. rejecting The Beatles, 1962
“640K [of RAM] ought to be enough for anybody”:
Bill Gates, 1981
“The fact that conflicts with other countries [producing
civilian casualties] have been conducted away from the
U.S. homeland can be considered one of the more
fortunate aspects of the American experience”:
Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for the US Dept of Defence, 2001
MAJOR DRIVERS OF CHANGE
• Rising and ageing population
• Movement towards consumer-driven lifelong
• Increasing life expectancy and quality of life,
supported by a move towards a more holistic
approach to health
• Increasing socio-economic inequality
• Cultural transformation driven by
globalisation, immigration and technology
• Shift of economic power to the consumer
• Growth of population in the urban areas
particularly the concentration of knowledge
workers around the city centers
• Continued improvements in ICT and increased
human reliance on this technology
• More efficient and cleaner automobile
• Increasing development of environmental
technologies and businesses
• Major health and agribusiness productivity
improvement likely from biotechnology
• Greatly advanced materials technologies
resulting from nanotechnology
• New and cleaner renewable energy sources
becoming economically viable
• Declining trade based on traditional
• The global city
• Growth of jobs in new export industries
associated with the global economy and
increasing participation in the global economy
• Unemployment for those in the old economy
• Change in the locus of wealth creation from
industry to the information/knowledge
• Increasing acceptance of the concept of
• Continued degradation of the natural
• Declining water quality
• Generally declining air quality and increased
• Uncertainty surrounding the impact of global
• Rising influence of global government to the
detriment of national governments
• Rising influence of Transnational Corporations
and global capital
• Increasing influence of Non-Government
Organisations (NGO’s) on the global and local
• Possibility of direct democracy and new
communities created by the internet
• New possibilities for global conflict, terrorism
2: DETERMINE PATTERNS OF
Consider how the driving forces could combine
to determine future conditions. To determine
these patterns of interaction between driving
forces, planners can develop a matrix that
identifies the driving forces as a pair of
opposites with a potential positive or negative
BUILDING THE SCENARIO
For example, if the economy is a driving force, it
can be labeled as having either no growth or fast
growth. By determining the interaction of each
driving force, scenarios can be created.
Choose two drivers that are most uncertain and
most critical in terms of impact on your plan.
Critical Uncertainty 1
Scenario 1 Scenario 2
Scenario 3 Scenario3
BUILDING THE SCENARIO MATRIX
3: CREATE SCENARIOS
When generating scenarios, planners should
think through the implications of different
strategies in different future environments.
The goal is to bring life to the scenarios so that
community stakeholders can easily recognize and
connect the various components.
4: ANALYSE THE IMPLICATIONS
Ultimately, scenario planning is a technique for
improving decision making. The scenarios enable
planners to explore the shape and nature of their
suggestions in a variety of circumstances.
The use of visual information to show the
interactions in each scenario can help the public
and decision makers understand the
consequences of potential actions and the
potential impacts of various scenarios.
5: EVALUATE SCENARIOS
Planners can measure the scenarios against one
another by comparing indicators relating to land
use, transportation, demographics, environment,
economics, technology, and other driving forces.
During large regional public meetings, graphic
simulations of alternative scenarios can stimulate
understanding and decisionmaking among
Through this process, the community can
formulate reasoned responses and enhance its
ability to respond to change.
6: MONITOR INDICATORS
Scenario planning is an ongoing process.
As the future unfolds, planners need to assess
and compare real growth patterns to the selected
scenarios and devise new scenarios, make new
decisions, or create policies to address changing