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Working with scenario method using Scenario Thinking: Practical approaches to the future by George Wright and George Cairns Scenario Process Workbook Volume.

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Presentation on theme: "Working with scenario method using Scenario Thinking: Practical approaches to the future by George Wright and George Cairns Scenario Process Workbook Volume."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working with scenario method using Scenario Thinking: Practical approaches to the future by George Wright and George Cairns Scenario Process Workbook Volume 2 – Working with the Augmented Methods George Cairns and George Wright

2 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Scenario thinking offers a way for individuals and groups to face up to the threats and opportunities of the future and to their potential impact upon the organization or community. (Wright and Cairns, 2011: p.1) Why should the individual and organization practice scenario thinking?

3 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Scenario thinking can facilitate vigilance in strategic thinking – in that alternative futures are thought through and strategic options can subsequently be evaluated against these futures. The process of scenario thinking enhances the evaluation and integration of information and promotes contingency planning for unfolding of both favorable and unfavorable futures. (Wright and Cairns, 2011: p.8) Aims of scenario thinking

4 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright To apply an approach of intuitive logics (Jungermann and Thuring, 1987) to make sense of complexity and ambiguity in terms of possibility and plausibility To explore the interrelationships between multiple factors in terms of cause/effect and chronology and to realise that the possibilities are not unlimited To understand that whilst the future is largely unpredictable and unknown, it is also largely knowable and understandable Not to predict the future, but to better understand the present To provide a framework for better informed decision making Aims of scenario thinking

5 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright A major focus is on how the future might evolve from todays point-in-time to the horizon year of the scenario – say 15-20 years hence. Scenario thinking analyses the relationships between: –the critical uncertainties (as they resolve themselves); –important predetermined trends (such as demographics), and –the behavior of actors who have a stake in the particular future (who tend to act to preserve and enhance their own interests) (Wright and Cairns, 2011: p.9) Aims of scenario thinking

6 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Adopting a round robin approach, where each member gets to present a single relevant idea in turn, with individuals dropping out as ideas are exhausted Accepting and agreeing that no idea can be challenged or excluded on the basis that it is wrong or nonsense Allowing only questions of clarification, such as Why do you think that…?, What would happen if…?, Who do you think would…? Holding a truly democratic forum that invites creativity, innovation and fresh ideas Ground rules for team-based scenario projects

7 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright What is the key focal issue of concern facing the members over the next 5,10, 15 years? –What is currently causing inaction and inertia? –What confusion exists that prevents a unified focus on strategic planning and action? –What keeps you awake at night? As a group, agree the single most important issue that causes uncertainty about the future and define it in a few words: e.g. The impact of social media on young adult music buying patterns Here, the focal issue of concern is………….? Stage 1 – Setting the scenario agenda

8 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Whilst a shareholder has a purely financial interest in the organisation, the stakeholder is defined broadly as: –Any identifiable group or individual who can affect the achievement of an organizations objectives or who is affected by the achievement of an organizations objectives (Freeman and Reed, 1983: p. 91). Affects can be political, economic, social, technological, environmental or (il)legal Consider the reach and impact of organisations such as Wal-Mart, Vodafone, eBay, Greenpeace, etc. How do we address stakeholder issues in scenario thinking? Stage 1b – Stakeholder analysis

9 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Identify the broad range of stakeholders – all those who can affect or may be affected by the situation Consider their roles in relation to the focal issue of concern – their power to affect, and their interest in affecting the situation, or their response to others power and influence Stage 1b – Stakeholder analysis

10 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Individually, consider the driving forces that impact the selected issue –Political –Economic –Social –Technological –Ecological –Legal factors Forces indicate change of direction, size, status, position, value, etc. Subjects/topics do not Stage 2 – Determining the driving forces

11 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Forces indicate change, but should not indicate direction or dimension unless you are 100% certain For example, in a project on climate change futures: –sea level X –impact of sea level on rate of coastal erosion –impact of rising sea levels in accelerating coastal erosion - the implication here is that sea level will rise and coast will erode more quickly Stage 2 – What are driving forces?

12 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright As a group, use the round robin approach to discuss each members most critical driving forces Ensure that you have a shared understanding of the nature of the driving force Consider your individual views on possible impacts and outcomes of these, not necessarily agreeing on what these might be Record your driving forces individually – clear and concise – on separate sticky notes Stage 2 – Determining the driving forces 1 3 2 137

13 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Discuss and agree two extreme outcomes for each driving force These should present the limits of possibility for outcome within what is considered possible and plausible over the scenario timescale In some instances, there may need to be a third extreme where development is not linear, e.g. not confined to a single technology, or will impact different social groups in different ways. Stage 2b – Determining the extreme outcomes 1 1a 1b 1c?

14 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Stage 3 – Clustering the driving forces Cluster the driving forces through discussing linkages of cause/effect or chronology –Which driving force outcomes will directly affect the outcome of others? –Which events must unfold before others can take place? Name the clusters in order to identify a small number of higher level factors Record the names on separate sticky notes Note: Stage 4 omitted At any given time the human brain can comfortably make sense of about a dozen concepts in relation to each other. (Wright and Cairns, 2011: p.33)

15 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Place your cluster heading higher level factors along the full length of the low impact/high impact axis of the matrix, discussing and agreeing positions relative to each other – there are no absolute measures to this What is each factors degree of impact on the key focal issue over the timescale relative to all others? Stage 5 – The impact/uncertainty matrix High impactLow impact Low certainty High certainty

16 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Select the two factors (A and B) that combine the greatest perceived impact on the core issue with the greatest uncertainty as to what that impact will be We may be highly certain that something will happen – e.g. climate change – but highly uncertain as to what impact it may have – increasing storm activity, drought, flood? Stage 5 – The impact/uncertainty matrix Factor A Factor B High impactLow impact Low certainty High certainty

17 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Stage 6b – Framing the scenarios For your identified factors A and B, brainstorm your perceptions of two very different ways in which the factor might evolve over the next decade or so Think broadly about how you would describe the resultant outcomes – in terms of society, environment, economy, etc. – to a complete stranger who knows nothing of the issue or context Record your thoughts as dot points on separate sheets for each factor

18 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Consider the interactions of the two sets of different outcomes for factors A and B – best outcomes A1 and B1, worst outcomes A2 and B2 Brainstorm descriptors of four futures defined by their interaction: A1/B1, A1/B2, A2/B1 and A2/B2 Stage 6b – Framing the scenarios Factor A Factor B Consider specifically how good outcomes in one factor will be impacted by bad outcomes to another

19 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Add notes to provide greater depth and build rich descriptions of four possible and plausible futures Think carefully and deeply about sense making, logic….. plausibility and possibility of what you are writing Stage 7b – Scoping the scenarios Scenario A1/B2: TITLE v Consider where all other extreme outcomes from Stage 2b fit, making sense of their interactions Note: Return now to Stage 1b/7c to consider stakeholder influences on each scenario scope – Does their input/action make sense?

20 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Identify the broad range of stakeholders – all those who can affect or may be affected by the situation Consider their roles in different scenarios – Would they do what the scenario indicates? Do they have the power and capability to make this happen? Would others respond as indicated? Stage 7c – Stakeholder analysis

21 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Develop the storyline that links each possible future back to the present Build logical chains of causality and chronology through strategic conversation of events, actions, people, etc. Combine comfort of the known with discomfort of what has not been considered Engage the audience through the medium of presentation and strength of content Stage 8 – Developing the scenarios

22 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Stage 8 – Developing the scenarios (Wright and Cairns, 2011)

23 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Backward logic and extreme scenarios –Working from the future back to the present –Thinking of a critical extreme scenario –Applying effect >cause reasoning –Does this link you back to the present? Critical scenario method –Extending stakeholder analysis across our planet and into the context of future generations –Linking causes in the world of business to effects in the lives and environments of others –Applying moral/ethical value judgments (Wright and Cairns, 2011) Alternative approaches to building scenarios

24 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Broadening the scope of our thinking to consider the overall implications of individual scenario storylines for society at large: –Where are we going? –Is this development desirable? –What, if anything, should we do about it? –Who gains and who loses, and by which mechanisms of power? (Flyvbjerg, 2001: p. 60) Stage 9 – Engaging with critical scenario method

25 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Stage 9 – Engaging with critical scenario method (Wright and Cairns, 2011) Scenario Involved/Affected Actors A1/B1 TITLE A2/B1 TITLE A2/B1 TITLE A2/B2 TITLE Note: The list of stakeholders below should be as comprehensive as possible Where are we going? Is this development desirable? Organization Executivei) impact ii) response i) impact ii) response i) impact ii) response i) impact ii) response Organization Senior Management i) impact ii) response i) impact ii) response i) impact ii) response i) ii) Organization Work Unit Members i) impact ii) response i) impact ii) response i) ii) i) ii) Prime Ministeri) impact ii) response i) ii) Etc. Federal Government Federal Opposition Minister for Industrial Affairs Etc., etc. Local Businesses………..??? Media – local, national and international Who are the winners? Who are the losers? Who holds power and how do the exercise it? ??

26 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Presentation of key points from scenarios: –What are the critical uncertainties in the future? –What is the range of possible and plausible outcomes? –What is the logic for how these outcomes might unfold? –Who are the key players and affected parties? –What are the major issues that need to be addressed by decision makers in the immediate future in order to avoid the worst future outcomes? How do you grab the attention of your intended audience and get your message across? Presenting the scenarios

27 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright They enable group sense-making in relation to complex and ambiguous problems They are not predictions of likely futures They offer insights into a range of possible and plausible futures Primarily, they present ways of better understanding the diversity of the present Thinking on the meaning of the scenarios for decision making in the present: –What are the key opportunities and threats in the external environment? –What are the current strengths and weaknesses within the organization? Working with scenarios

28 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright The desire for certainty, and discomfort with ambiguity Hierarchical resistance to the democratic conversation Refusal to acknowledge the validity of knowledge and opinion that challenges accepted norms Myopia and narrow-mindedness Obstacles to scenario thinking

29 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright Actively seeking alternatives to the usual Considering the broadest range of factors that can impact any situation Seeing the world through the eyes of others Embracing uncertainty and ambiguity Managing risk through opening up possibilities, not closing them down Scenario thinking as a way of being

30 ©2011 g.cairns/g.wright References Flyvbjerg, Bent (2001) Making Social Science Matter: Why social inquiry fails and how it can succeed again. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Freeman, R.E. and D.L. Reed (1983) Stockholders and stakeholders: a new perspective on corporate governance, California Management Review, (XXV) 3. van der Heijden, K., R. Bradfield, G. Burt, G. Cairns and G. Wright (2002) The Sixth Sense: Accelerating organizational learning with scenarios. Chichester: Wiley. Jungermann, H. and M. Thuring (1987) The use of mental models for generating scenarios, in G. Wright and P. Ayton (eds.), Judgmental Forecasting. London: Wiley. Meyer, A.D. (1982) Adapting to environmental jolts, Administrative Science Quarterly, 27: 515–37. Wright, G. and G. Cairns (2011) Scenario Thinking: Practical approaches to the future. London, Palgrave. Thank you

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