ABSTRACT

Will there be a new pandemic? How will Artificial Intelligence develop and which jobs will it affect? Can the worst effects of climate change still be prevented? Answers to these questions have consequences for persons and organisations around the world. In long-term planning, analysing the potential future paths of these trends is known as scenario exploration. Participatory scenario development involves stakeholders in generating trends and developments in the context of their organisation. In particular, uncertain and important trends are interesting, as their path of development is likely to set the conditions in which the organisation in focus needs to work. Participants then develop a set of scenarios developed which each describes, in narrative form, what a plausible future looks like and how it came to be. The question that then follows logically is ‘if the future looks like this, what can we do to prepare?’ By analysing what works well across scenarios, in effect using scenarios as a test bed for strategic actions, scenario analysis helps to identify robust options. Case studies on the use of scenarios reveal a wide diversity between procedures used and point to beneficial outcomes such as increased understanding of the issue at hand and acceptance of proposed actions.