Scenario planning works best if participants are able to ‘think outside the box’, to coin a phrase. In our everyday working environments this can be difficult to achieve, so it is a good idea to run your activities in a different setting – somewhere away from the everyday grind, perhaps even a little unusual.
The activity here is especially useful if participants are too focused on certainties and find it difficult to visualise situations beyond their experience. The exercise begins with a question for the group on the certainties related to an issue. The exercise is illustrated with an example below. Note we refer to ‘2.0’ rather than the more restrictive ‘web 2.0′, another way to widen the creative scope.
Question: ‘What are our biggest certainties with regard to 2.0 – what will we definitely see in 2.0?
- This question is immediately followed by a short brainstorm on identified certainties. A flip chart can be used to record these suggestions (five minutes)
- Individuals then identify for themselves their top three certainties from the list (two minutes)
- Everyone in the group then votes by a show of hands on the certainties on the list and scores are recorded next to each certainty (two minutes).
The second part of this activity involves the participants having to imagine that an all-knowing oracle had visited and explained a few things about the issue being discussed – in this case 2.0 – including that the certainty that had received the highest score from the group does not actually happen, in fact the opposite happens.
- Ask the group to brainstorm possible explanations for why this happened. Suggestions are written on a flip chart (five minutes)
- Ask the group to focus on identifying a realistic explanation that could have a big impact (two minutes).