> Tools > Scenario Building > Schultz / Manoa | Schwartz / GBN | de Vries / Sociovision | Harman Fan

SCENARIO BUILDING: an introduction to the tools.

The scenario building tools offered above demonstrate more than anything else my lifelong fascination with images of the future: I started my science fiction habit in fifth grade with Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy, and the addiction has never let go. An interest in identifying and analyzing images of the future led naturally to an interest in imagining / composing / building / visualizing them -- and a concomitant interest in collecting different means to do so.

These pages represent only that part of my collection that I have so far documented and transcribed into html; if this is also an abiding passion of yours, then watch this space for future developments.

The "Manoa" approach to scenario building was basically designed using an "expert system" strategy: render an intuitive, individual art into a facilitators' guide by interviewing experts as to what was going on in their minds when they wrote scenarios. The result is in many ways simpler to teach than the Schwartz approach, but the results often harder to "sell," as the scenarios it produces are generally much longer-term, and far more divergent / transformative in their structure -- for sophisticated clients only, or to enhance creativity and innovation in R&D and product design staff. The resulting scenarios also work well as provocations in incasting exercises. A more elaborate version of this approach that blended it with causal loop analysis was developed by Sandy Burchsted and Christian Crews during their graduate studies at UHCL; Crews elaborated the method and provided examples and workshop experiences with it in his Masters project.

The "Schwartz/GBN" approach offered here is my facilitator's approach to restructuring the instructions in Peter Schwartz's The Art of the Long View, "Appendix." I am still refining my approach to teaching this, as it has three "sticking points" from the view of the neophyte: keeping "local factors" and "driving forces" straight (an issue I address in my essay on subjective-objective difficulties in futures studies); expressing uncertainties as opposites in order to label the continua that create the matrix; and, of course, actually writing the stories that result (creating drama and recording it as a compelling narrative is both the delightful challenge and the biggest hurdle in scenario building).

I was fortunate enough to sit in on Joop de Vries' workshop at the Global Futures Forum "FutureScene 2001" conference in Nice, and transcribed my notes into this rough guide to the dialogue-based (rather Socratic, in fact) approach he uses in his work at Sociovision.

Finally (as of 21 February 2003), the "Harman Fan" process comes from the first chapter of the late -- and wonderful! -- Willis Harman's An Incomplete Guide to the Future. The example, beautifully transcribed into an interactive powerpoint slide show, was constructed during the Futures Research Methods II graduate seminar of the Summer 2002 Residential Intensive Masters program in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston - Clear Lake. All y'all ROCKED; special thanks to Ruud van der Helm for his inspired and useful transcription of this exercise.

> Tools > Scenario Building > Schultz / Manoa | Schwartz / GBN | de Vries / Sociovision | Harman Fan

15 February 2003. Email IF.
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