|This is a Work-In-Progress. Feel free to edit!|
Publicly available scenario work that others have done:
- Mont Fleur Scenarios
- Future Tense. Collaboration between Slate, New America Foundation, and Arizona State University
- Stanford 2025
- Kitchens in 2040 (IKEA report)
- TBD Catalog
The original forecasting method was invented by Olaf Helmer (the co-founder of Institute for the Future) while he was at RAND in the 1950s. It was an expert-oriented system that attempted to use anonymous questionnaires that were summarized and reflected back in order to avoid groupthink.
Major Life Moments
This exercise was inspired by this article, which notes:
Our life experience shapes what we want, what we hope for, what we fear, and what we think. Our generation has different expectations and assumptions about the world than our parents, and a new era gives our children perspectives that are distinctly different from ours....
Russians under 24 won’t remember Russia before Putin, and those under 34 have no memory of the Soviet Union. South Africans younger than 30 won’t have clear memories of apartheid. They know the African National Congress as the party of power, not the party of liberation. Chinese under 35 can’t recall a time when their country was not the world’s rising economic power. Iranians under 45 have no memory of life before the revolution. French, Italians, and Germans younger than 22 have never paid for a meal with francs, lira or Deutsche Marks. Brazilians younger than 39 and Nigerians under 25 have no experience of military rule. Americans under 23 won’t remember the world before 9/11. Those under 34 didn’t experience the Cold War. Those under 53 won’t remember racial segregation. Something to think about when trying to predict what citizens will want from their governments.
These generational shifts in worldview are likely what lead to historical cycles (and are also why this site is "Faster Than 20").
We can map these by looking at major moments in history as well as population trends in age demographics, then do thought experiments based on this data. This might also be an opportunity to build a tool.
- Stuart Candy and Jeff Watson's The Thing From The Future card deck
Incorporating Online Tools
Scenario thinking has largely been practiced as a face-to-face process. However, there have been some explorations into integrating online tools into the process, and there are more opportunities to experiment.
GBN has great materials (both introductory and case examples) on scenario thinking. In particular, Diana Scearce and Katherine Fulton's What If?: The Art of Scenario Thinking for Nonprofits is an excellent introduction.
Other materials of interest:
- Opening access to scenario planning tools (changing the planning paradigm)
- Gail Taylor's blog post, "Scan and Play"
Long Now Foundation's Long Bets