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Module 6: Scenarios and Results

Module 6: Developing Archetypal Scenarios – Facilitator’s Guide

Objective: To Develop Archetypal Scenarios Using Scenario Logic, Change Drivers and System Elements.

This is a 1-2 day exercise (depending on how much of the work is done by the core foresight facilitation team in advance) to develop the scenario logic and explore the impacts of change drivers and system elements in four different scenarios. While it can be done as a facilitated group exercise, it is much easier to do with a few people (even just one or two) who have been involved in the whole foresight process to date.

(**Note: if you are new to scenario development, you may want to do this as a small group exercise only**)

  • 2 facilitators/room (8 in total)
  • 15-25 participants
  • 1 runner/room (optional)
  • 1 notetaker/room

Participant Kit:

  • Change driver definitions (descriptions provided, if change driver exercise done in advance)
  • Definitions of all system elements
  • Cascade diagrams for respective change drivers
  • Scenario Matrix template
  • Thin tip marker for each participant
  • 8” x 6” sticky notes (fit 8 words)
  • Projector/computer
  • Evaluation form, or 3 sticky notes per person for feedback (optional)

Post on the wall:

  • A visual agenda (optional)
  • Rules of engagement (optional)
  • Domain map with all elements
  • Poster of Scenario Matrix template
  • 2 headings on sticky notes (optional): What worked? What could be better?

Meeting Space:
Four breakout rooms will be required to conduct the scenario work. Each room should be equipped with a computer
and large screen so that work can be done in real-time. Alternatively a blank (papered) wall to post comments
(or several flipcharts) could be provided. Seating for all conducive to both hearing other participants and seeing the
screen or wall.

5 MIN 1. General meeting instructions (if needed)
1-1.5 days 2. Give context about the scenario development process (2 hours including 20 min break)
3. Introduce scenario logic
4. Introduce using change drivers and system elements to develop scenarios
5. Provide instructions for the scenario development exercise (20 minutes)
6. Break-out discussions: developing scenarios (3-4 hours each)
7. Plenary discussion (60 minutes)
10 MIN 8. Reflect on and/or evaluate the exercise

EST. TOTAL TIME: 1-2 days

Before the Meeting: Plan the Activity

  • Each participant will need a chair, writing surface and a clear sightline to the wall.
  • Develop and post in the rooms any visual aids that will be referred to in the meeting.
  • Ensure each participant has several large sticky notes close at hand. Sticky notes should be large enough to clearly fit about eight words.

In addition to sticky notes: Ensure there is a projector in the room so a notetaker can fill in the Scenario Matrix template as participants provide ideas. Allowing participants to review and reformulate ideas as they are being captured works well. Having both wall and computer reflection of participants’ ideas is ideal given the amount of information that must be captured throughout the day.

1. General meeting introductions (if needed) (5 minutes) Introduce facilitators. Provide context for the session (why are we here?). Allow participant introductions if they are unacquainted. Consider adding a few minutes to the agenda to: build rapport through an ice-breaker activity review ground rules to ensure a good discussion If this is one of several activities, consider using a visual agenda to situate this activity within the day’s events. A list of rules of engagement posted in the room during the meeting is a visual reminder of the group’s commitment to support a good discussion.
2. In Plenary – Give context about the
scenario development process (30 minutes) Outline the agenda for the upcoming day. Provide a general presentation on scenarios to introduce the concept; “What are they? Why do we use them?” (this helps to put participants’ minds into a future state; surface surprises, challenges and opportunities; create a story of a plausible future; etc.). Emphasize Horizons’ approach to scenarios (archetypal vs. others). Introduce the Scenario Matrix template and briefly identify the steps involved in completing it, starting with the scenario logic. Share the example of a completed Scenario Matrix.
Module 6 contains a deck on Scenarios and Results for your use. Post a Scenario Matrix template on the wall for reference purposes. There is a blank template in module 6. You will likely need to fill parts of it in before your event depending on how much or how little you are expecting participants to complete. Consider posting an example of a completed Scenario Matrix as well.
3. In Plenary – Introduction to developing the scenario logic (20 minutes) Developing the scenario logic is the first step of scenario development. (Refer back to the slide “Example of Scenario Logic” from the Scenarios and Results presentation). Each archetypal scenario has its own basic logic. This ensures that a range of plausible but distinct alternative futures is explored. Horizons generally uses the following guidelines for archetypal scenarios: Muddling through – coping with or reacting to change, but without improving things; Incremental progress – things are getting better, but in an incremental way; Incremental decline – current arrangements are hard to sustain and things are getting worse (although not necessarily catastrophic); and Transformation – things are changing due to fundamental shifts in the way we work or see the problem. Transformation is often a response to an opportunity or a crisis. The first row of the scenario logic (the “archetypal logic”) should reflect the above guidelines, but will also be tailored to your specific subject. Explain that the archetypal logic is supplemented with two or three additional lines of logic that help put distinct boundaries on each scenario. This further determines what will be explored and developed in each scenario, so needs to be strategically chosen. What is strategic to include in the scenario logic is informed by an understanding of the system and insights about what is changing, gained through scanning. The remainder of this scenario development exercise assumes that you have already developed the scenario logic. The core foresight facilitation team may want to develop the scenario logic in advance of the workshop. Having conducted the analysis of the system, change drivers, etc., the core team understands the  system well enough to make a judgment call on key aspects (such as the “additional lines of logic”) that can help frame the scenarios.
4. In Plenary – Introduction to using change (30 minutes)
drivers and system elements to develop
scenarios The next step in scenario development is to consider how each change driver (identified in module 5) might behave under each scenario (the change drivers should have been pre-determined – see notes). Introduce the change drivers to be used in the exercise. Briefly explain how these change drivers were chosen (see module 5). Walk the group through an example of one change driver across all scenarios, considering the impact it might have in each one. “Considering the scenario logic (which includes the basic archetypal logic and additional logic), what would this change driver look like in the muddling through story? What about incremental progress? Decline? Transformation?” Allow time for conversation with the group to ensure they fully understand the process and have time to discuss and develop the scenario content arising from each change driver. Each scenario will become richer with every new change driver being incorporated into the story. The resulting scenarios will reflect complex environments where change impacts the system in different, perhaps unexpected ways. Describe the system elements that will be used in this exercise. Briefly describe how these elements were determined. (See modules 4 and 5). Explain that the same process above is also used with the system elements. Suggestions: This is a lot of information to take in, ask if anyone has any questions. Do participants understand the scenario logic? Are they comfortable with the change drivers? Note: these were developed during module 5 when change drivers were assessed against the domain map. Are participants comfortable with the system elements? Continuously refer back to the Scenario Matrix template as a visual of the process.
When discussing change drivers refer participants to the module 5 section on identifying and assessing change drivers. Note: Change drivers and system elements to be examined during this exercise should be pre-determined, based on previous exercises (see module 5). Ideally, the participants in this exercise have been involved in the entire foresight process to this point, and will understand the origins of these drivers and system elements. Note: going through each change driver for each scenario can take quite a long time. It can be done ahead of time (by the core team), saving half of the workshop time.
5. In Plenary – Detailed instructions on the scenario development exercise (20 minutes) “You will now be broken up into four groups for the day, one for each scenario (Muddling, Decline, Progress and Transformation). Each group will consider change drivers and then system element impacts for one scenario and report back to plenary at the end of the day.” Each group will have two facilitators (one leading the discussion, the other helping to capture ideas). Participants will discuss the logic of their particular scenario. Facilitators will use a guided imaging exercise to put participants in the future space of their scenario. Participants will explore how all the change drivers and system elements might play out in their particular scenario. The objective is to populate the Scenario Matrix with one line descriptions of what might be happening, in all of the cells. The information for each scenario should tell a coherent story as a whole. At the end of the day participants return to plenary to share the main highlights of the scenarios they developed. Allow participants to choose which scenario they will work with – have flipcharts (one for each scenario) with prepopulated stickies. Participants choose their preferred scenario by pulling off a sticky from the appropriate flip-chart. By pre-populating the flip charts with stickies, you ensure that each scenario has the preferred number of participants. Guided imaging will help the participants visualize the scenario logic and begin to consider how the change drivers might evolve within the scenario. Guided imaging can be repeated before assessing the systems elements across the four scenarios. If challenges and opportunities arise during the scenario exercise, capture them for future use. Take breaks as appropriate.
6. Break-out group: developing a scenario using scenario logic, change drivers and system elements (30 minutes per change driver up to 1/2 day – 30 minutes per system element up to 1/2 day) Participants are now in their small groups. Review the scenario logic – either through a short guided imaging exercise or open discussion, to ensure it makes sense to participants. Discuss what each change driver might look like under this scenario. (If the change drivers have already been assessed, then discuss them with participants so they can consider them as they develop the rest of the scenario. See note). For each change driver, ask “What does this change driver look like in 2030 given the all the changes we have outlined in the scenario logic?” The notetaker captures the main ideas in a computer document. (E.g. one column of the Scenario Matrix template). The facilitator can also write on a flip chart or ask participants to write their ideas on sticky notes to post on the wall. When considering each subsequent change driver, keep in mind the story you have completed to date, including the scenario logic and any change drivers completed so far. Once the change drivers are completed, move on to the system elements using the same process as for the change drivers. For each system element, ask “What does this system element look like in 2030 given the all the changes we have talked about in this scenario so far?” Consider the scenario logic and change drivers section to ensure there is consistency throughout the whole scenario. It should tell a coherent story. As a final step, the group can pick a memorable name for their scenario. The name should reflect the archetypal logic and help bring the scenario to life. Each group returns to plenary once they have completed their column of the Scenario Matrix template and named their scenario. Note: Module 1 has a Facilitators guide on Guided Imaging which can be used to support this exercise. Note: The change driver assessment can be done by the core team in advance of the exercise (saving approximately ½ day of group time). If you decide to conduct the change driver assessment in advance ensure that you provide the change driver descriptions for each scenario to participants – and explain how you derived them (20 minutes). See the completed Scenario Matrix example in module 6 for a synthesis of the material generated across four scenario groups. The notetaker will be filling in the matrix (on the screen) in real-time as people are discussing their thoughts and ideas.
7. Return to plenary (60 minutes) Each group presents their work to plenary (group rapporteur may be assigned, or the notetaker or facilitator can report back). This is followed by an open discussion on the results of the scenarios. Facilitators inform participants on next steps in the foresight process (writing narratives for scenarios, identifying policy challenges and opportunities and testing assumptions with the scenarios).
8. Reflect on and/or evaluate the exercise (10 minutes) Give participants an opportunity to provide feedback on the exercise. This might take the form of: Q&A discussion Participant completion of an evaluation form Informal evaluation—On their way out of the room, participants are asked to post one comment on a sticky note for each of three wall headings: What Worked? What Could be Better? Provide evaluation forms or sticky notes as appropriate.