Creating scenarios can involve participants using a mix of storytelling, visualisation and enactment techniques. By fully engaging in the process and, to some extent, living it participants can really begin to understand the consequences of a scenario.
Scenarios should have elements of plausibility in them as well as, perhaps, some level of ‘discomfort’. They can be a development and projection of smaller issues and challenges that occur in the present day.
Scenarios can help to identify and anticipate potential weaknesses and shortcomings in terms of flexibility and ability to react to developments and challenges. Scenario planning can be used to consider potential issues and situations in a context that provides the luxury of careful thought and iterative planning rather than ‘firefighting’ at the point at which a weakness unexpectedly makes itself known.
There are a number of approaches that can be taken and tools that can be used in the process and this section highlights some of our favourites.
The image above was produced as an output from an ECDL workshop, based around libraries in the digital age. It gives a visual representation of one particular group’s thoughts on a ‘library of the future’ after carrying out the metaphor activity.
By thinking creatively about the topic the group quickly built up an understanding of the library’s requirements and the environment containing them ie, the island informs us that the reading area (book beach) should be relaxed, comfortable and spacious. It can also help you to identify particular risks ie, other institutions poaching your best students (represented by sharks in the image).