jueves, 1 de agosto de 2013

"'Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?”

Scenario planning is not forecasting. Forecasting means extrapolating trends from the past into the future. Even though this may work in the short term, it fails in the long term mostly due to its linearity and simplicity. Our world is a complex world and some things we have learnt in past decades as regards complexity, subsystem realities, potentiality,and the order inside chaos are so strong that we are still trying to make meaning out of them. And I would add, few of us are. It is to be expected that many people who have been educated to think inside the box will hold to this for some time if not forever. But what do I understand by scenario planning? As a Sci fi fan, I can't help linking it to Asimov's work in the Foundation series, even more to the last book when Hari Seldon, seeing that all what he expected had high chances to fail, shares that he had lay the seeds of a second Foundation in case the first one doomed. I have had trouble understanding the concept of scenarioplanning because I used to get stuck in the term "creating future worlds" and thanks to Oliver Freeman's explanation I am now able to go beyond this term and see that scenarios are built as a set that "cover a full range of potentialities" and our purpose in scenario building is to isolate strategies that would be repeated in the different worlds and focus on them to ensure future is not so distant from what we imagined and, even if they happened to be so, we would still have the tools to adjust. Another key point in scenario planning is that the creation of intermediate stages in the process allows us to have a number of points of intervention to assess, reorient and even redesing in shorter periods. The key skills to me are a combination of convergent and divergent thinking, starting with the latter in the construction of futures and shifting towards convergent to make the set sistemic and make sure the futures stand the test of tracing back their history to the present and of ordering the myriads of contingencies into meaningful bundles.

3 comentarios:

  1. You have captured the essence of scenario planning in particular the notion of covering a range of "potentialities". In this we are better prepared to make the future happen!

  2. @ Marina- I haven't read much of Asimov but you mentioning sci fi made me think of Terry Pratchet's work and the alternative worlds with alternative possibilities. Scenario planning on a universal scale.
    I also appreciate your convergent and divergent thinking idea. Made me reflect some more. Thanks.

  3. Hi, thanks for your reflections, very nice post... Thought-provoking together with all the reference documents in SP$Ed.
    Hmmm... I still think the past can be a great tool for scenario planning, bearing in mind that there have been several ways to interpret and explain the same reality and that each country, each society, each culture, each institution can tell different things about their pasts and presents, shouldn't we look around?
    About Sci fi, I like dystopias, I think they were created with the same aim as SP, that's to say, come back to the present and act appropriately, in their case, to prevent them from happening in the future.