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Rain or Shine: A Collaborative Guide to Forecasting & Scenario Planning


In an ever growing ambiguous future, scenarios act as a guiding light, not for the what will be, but rather the what might be.

Ahoy-hoy! We have created this toolkit to provide

several years these alternative futures

an overview of our process and

are not predictions of what will come,

outcomes. Our primary intent was to

but plausible vignettes of what might

create viable scenarios for the future;

occur. The overarching purpose of these

however, documentation of our research

futures is not to try to predict as much as

and activities is an equally important

to portray events in order to cultivate a

element of this toolkit. Our first step was

sensitivity to the early weak signals that

researching a wide variety of relevant

allow organizations to avoid crises and

topics including scenario planning,

maximize opportunities ahead of others.

history of trends, emerging trends, and visions of the future as seen through

While this toolkit will serve as the

science fiction literature.

primary documentation of the end results of a ten-week process, we also

Next, we synthesized elements of our

envision it to serve as a guidebook.

research through a range of interactive

The processes we have outlined,

practices such as affinitizing trends,

particularly the strategies for synthesis

plotting uncertainty and impact within

and application, can be implemented

a 3x3 matrix, and creating Axes of

in future meetings and workshops with

Logic. Finally, we began applying what

both employees and clients. We hope

we had learned to begin building

insights into our process will inspire

scenarios. Steps in this process included

you to continue the exploratory

developing tools and plots to visualize

journey we have begun and engage

scenarios, backcasting, and creating four

in further projects.

stories and futures of possible futures that portray overlapping eras of the next 80 years. Throughout the process it was the tenet that beyond the next

let’s go

What’s in store?

Components of Research


Introduction to Research for Scenario Planning, Understanding Trends & Drivers

Where to Begin?


Current Articles, Emerging Technologies, Science Fiction, Remarkable People


Things We Found Inspiring


Generation Analysis, Era Analysis, Timeline

Components of Synthesis


Introduction to Synthesis for Scenario Planning,


Affinitizing Trends & Information into Categories, Assessment of Trends, Grouping of Trends

Conducting a Workshop


Synthesizing Research as a Team, How-to Plan a Workshop, Workshop 1, Workshop 2


Writing Scenarios


Best Practices

It’s an Iterative Process


Team Red Approach, Team Blue Approach

Appendices 54 The Team, Reading List Rundown, Definitions

Components of Research Phase 1

Introduction to Research for Scenario Planning

To understand why scenario planning

In the process of developing research

best to learn from the experts. There

for scenario planning, individuals must

is a plethora of scenario planning

tackle a variety of different subjects

books, however, some of the most

in order to obtain information over a

comprehensive and valuable are the

broad spectrum. This can also be done

seminal The Art of the Long View by

as a team, where each group member

Peter Schwartz, Scenario Planning in

tackle a few subjects to become

Organizations by Thomas Chermack,

“instant experts� before sharing the

and The Scenario Planning Handbook:

main ideas for those subjects with the

Developing Strategies in Uncertain Times

rest of the group.

by Ian Wilson and Bill Ralston. Each of

is important and how it works, it is

these books offers an overview of the



The dispersion of research material

history of scenario planning, methods of

allows for more enriching conversations

scenario planning that complement the

as each member comes from a different

ideas explained in this toolkit, and case

perspective. The research material can

study examples of how scenario planning

be divided into two topics: research

has been implemented in businesses

on the basics of scenario planning and

around the world.


A storytelling tool for changing and understanding people’s perceptions.


A direction by which society defines a change is taking place.


The physical markers and motivations that bring about change.

research on trends and drivers. Every

This Phase Will Build the Foundation In order to plan for a future landscape, we must first grasp what has happened, what is happening, and their implications for the future.

group member should have a good

Understanding Trends & Drivers

grasp of the basics of scenario planning,

In researching materials for trends

but dispersion can occur during the

and drivers, it is best to cover over-

research of trends and drivers.

arching world topics as well as those specifically relating to the client or project. It is also important to gather research from a myriad of various sources in order to gain a holistic representation of the facts. Trends and drivers can also be categorized in terms

Schwartz, P. (1991). The Art

of historical trends, present trends,

of the Long View. New York:

emerging trends, and future trends.

Random House.

Where to Begin?


Variables that remain stable throughout time.

Current Articles

Emerging Technologies

Novels can also help bring out

By researching key events of the past

Continously reading about emerging

previously unthought of information

and present and reading current articles

technologies and the future can give

or a direction that the research team

in the news, individuals can begin to

perspective on where experts believe

might want to pursue.

piece together cyclical patterns within

the world is moving. This information

trends such as human nature constants,

often provides the “meat� or the

Remarkable People

and/or themes throughout time.

foundation for scenario planning as they

Look for information on the fringes

Examples of recommended sources

are the most reliable regarding their

by obtaining information from people

to find reliable current articles are Fast

impact on the future. These trends can

(e.g.. strangers, specialists, and even

Company, BBC News, The New York

be found in a variety of outlets such

friends). Multidisciplinary people and

Times, and Strategy+Business, just to

as infographics, videos, articles, and

unconventional thinkers can bring new

name a few.

books. Examples of recommended

ideas to the research team or reframe a

sources for emerging technologies are

preconceived perspective. Specialists,

BBC New: Future, TED Talks, Wired

such as Neil Howe co-author of The

News, Physics of the Future by Machio

Fourth Turning, brough insight and

Kaku, and Beyond Human: Living

realization of the cyclicality of time in

with Robots and Cyborgs by Gregory

terms of generations and turning points

Benford and Elisabeth Malartre.

throughout history. Some of the most


Remarkable People

People with a completely different outlook or mental model than those inside the organization working on the issue.


An area not defined by the mainstream. A location that can provide a unique and uncommon mindset.

valuable insights can come from those

Science Fiction

outside of scenario planning.

Science Fiction novels are a valuable and fun source of information as well. They are a form of scenario planning Plotting current trends that could play a major role as future drivers

outputs and are an effective example of how to blend emerging trends and drivers into a believable, futuristic story. Many classical, seminal books have been a source of foresight that have frequently forcast the present (e.g. Jules Vern, H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clark, and William Gibson)

Schwartz, P. (1991). The Art of the Long View. New York: Random House.

Things We Found Inspiring


An example or broad theme that applies to a person or context.

Generation Analysis

Howe has also identified the concept

also notated for the past and current

Further discussion regarding predictions

The generational archetypes and Four

of Turnings that work in conjunction

generations. There also are four future

of education and toys for each of

Turnings studied by Neil Howe and

with generational cycles. A Turning is

generations following the cycles created

these generations based on their

his writing partner William Strauss

noted as a social mood or era. A cycle

by Howe, and each have been named

archetypes and relation to the Turnings

create a unique framework that can be

of Four Turnings lasts approximately 80

based on their archetypal model.

should be explored.

useful in understanding the impact and

to 90 years aligning with the timing of

scenarios. A generation is considered

generational shifts. The Fourth Turning

to be a cohort of individuals born over

is considered a time of crisis while a First Turning is where society emerges from a crisis and continues to rise through the Second and Third Turnings.

Generational Archetypes The four variants of generations that have been tracked to cycle regularly. Archetype





Nurtured style





humans to view crises as an opportunity

Parenting style





for long-term gain rather than a cause

Reputation as child





Primary focus






community, affluence, technology

pluralism, expertise, due process

vision, values, religion

liberty, survival, honor

Howe emphasizes that understanding the cyclical nature of time allows

for panic. The ajoining chart provides comparisons of societal norms during each Turning. After developing a cursory

Using Turnings and archetypes as driving forces for scenario prototyping

a period of approximately 20 years. Members of a generation share similar experiences from childhood through their elder years. From this, Howe has identified four generational archetypes that cycle throughout time and he has traced these cycles back to the

Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (1992).

Arthurian Generation born between

Generations, the history of

1433 and 1460.

america’s future, 1584 to 2069. New York: Harper Perennial.

The Four Turnings

archetypes and Turnings, this

Periods of times that have been found to cycle in relation to generations. Turning





Social structure





generation that have been born in recent






history through 80 years in the future.

Social motivator





Each generation is based on Howe’s

Vision of future





archetypes. The parents’ generation and






Gender role gap










organization’s past, future, and present customers. The chart on page 12 lists

their influences are also noted along with the Turning into which they were born. Educational trends and popular toys are


Generations that are born after a spiritual awakening.


Generations that are born during a great war or other historical crisis, a time when great worldly perils boil off the complexity of life.


understanding of the generational knowledge was then applied to your

10 / 11

Generations that are born after a great war or other crisis, during a time of rejuvenated community.


Generations that are born during a spiritual awakening, a time of social ideals.

Past Generations Generation

Silent Generation (artist)

Baby Boomers (prophet)

Generation X (nomad)

Birth Years




Lost Generation

G.I. Generation

Silent Generation




Shift from local to national control

Increased math & science curriculum

Montessori & alternative methods

Parents/Influencers Turning Education Trends

Current Generations Generation

Millennials (hero)

Homelanders (artist)

Birth Years



Baby Boomers

Generation X



Standardized testing

Charter schools & increased options

Parents/Influencers Turning Education Trends

Era Analysis

Due to technology’s influence and reach

The following section is a summarization

to all parts of the world, individuality

of the eras constructed by the SCAD

is transformed into a mindset of mass

graduate students. You will be able

vision. This vision affects the behavior

to find their process within the

of many sub-cultures, causing their

workshop section of this toolkit (pg.

eventual extinction.

12 / 13

32). You and your team can then use these (or your own) developed eras

With an ever growing need for

in order to pinpoint opportunities for

technology, accelerated production and

your organization.

market strategy become imperative as investors seek out new marketplaces,

Post-contemporary: (2013-2043)

utilizing communication technology to

Technology is the Main Player

aid in the diffusion of their products to

The Post-Contemporary Era is primarily

every corner of the planet.

characterized by further development and advances in technology. Technology dominates the individual’s and the collective’s activities and environments. Due to its role in daily life, advances in

Future Generations

production of all technology becomes


Renewals (prophet)

Generation ID (nomad)

Risers (hero)

Creators (artist)

Birth Years









Generation ID









Turning Education Trends

not only accessible but affordable too. This furthers the diffusion of technology across the globe, becoming ubiquitous throughout geographic locations and cultural demographics. During this time, technology is deeply

However, while the needs for more

nested inside every discipline. Its

technological products escalate,

influence concentrates within education,

the usage of resources escalates

healthcare, communications and

dramatically as well. The world’s limited

urban development.

supply of non-renewable materials spirals down at an ever faster rate than

Anticipating future generations based on infancy through adulthood

anticipated. Unfortunately only a few

cultures and the disappearance of many

in many more activities than simply

Increases in production yield more

people remain deeply concerned with

traditional sub-cultures. To earn money

shopping. Social Complexes will

pollution across the planet, thus the use

the rising ecological problems.

for survival in this materialistic lifestyle,

become the only location where

of outdoor space for family activities

individuals place more time into work

individuals can still enjoy their life

decrease exponentially. This influences

Post Industrial Era: (2013-2053)

with longer hours and greater stress.

outdoors due to severe climate change.

people to play indoors, seeking out new

The people of this Era rely on a largely

Employment is variable with immense

materialistic lifestyle. With the massive

competition for new jobs. Fluxuations

However, business also becomes more

need for material products and the

in the various global economies

complicated as non-renewable resources

The competitive environment of this

resources it takes to produce them,

exaserbates gaps within employment.

reach a point of termination. This tipping

middle class society makes education all

humanity endeavors to find new land

This is largely the rseult of economic

point pushes adults to work harder and

that much more important as an emblem

for replenishing resources. This leads

ression, automization of manufacturing,

for extended periods of time simply to

of social status. However, it also furthers

to greater migration across the planet.

and increassed labor exportation,

survive in such highly competitive market

to widen the gap between people.

A migration that also moves into the

ending with an expansion of those

environments. Added to that is the

virtual world as well.

in poverty.

task of searching for new resources for

End of the Contemporary Era: 2048-2068

energy and production in substitution of

Most of the technologies that are

traditional fossil fuels.

already known to us have come to their

The Technology Peak: (2033-2053)

experiences in virtual landscapes.

The Era of the Technology Peak is a

Layering generations, trends, and scenarios on a timeline to develop a robust understanding of future landscapes

The expanse of free trade networks gives rise to regional unions. These regions start conforming to broader social structures enabling the concept of “One Country.” This fosters hybrid and fusion

14 / 15

end, since:

period where most technologies reach

The Era of Experience: (2013-2068)

a maximum point of development.

The Era of Experience is an extension

At this point, technology is available

of the service and experience economy

everywhere and to anyone in the world.

that emerged out of the beginning of

This ubiquitous technology maximizes

the 21st century. It overlaps with the

the online market space. Every family

Post-Contemporary Era, The Technology

owns 3D printing technology and

Peak, The End of the Contemporary

is able to order and print products

Era, and marks the beginning of the

directly from home.

Neo-Nomad generation. The increasing rise of the global middle class creates

The department store brings about

massive need for better products and

new social interactions evolving into

services. Manufacturing industries seek

a “Social Complex” or “Social Mall,”

to build new networks for outsourcing

a place where people can participate

in different countries while building relationships between one another.

Resources have run-out Climate change results in growing scarcity of food production Cautiuous unbalance in the social structure Economic crisis Like the 20th century after the first industrial revolution, everyone believed humanity could do anything with technology at their finger tips, everything was possible with the push of a button. People‘s vision of future became euphoric.


A demarcation in time and frames a period of time.

However, in the current era all

Neo-Nomad: (2053-2073)

Nevertheless, humanity will still find its

to place for viable land, supplies, or for

development and activity is based on

Localization and self sufficiency

way, as life often does. New research

plundering. Developing new energy

excessive use and exploitation of energy

New material and research in education happen locally

and funding is driven into renewable

solutions to support war and long

resources, and the development of new

distance transportation become a main

technologies from them. Sustainability

focus for governments and remaining

becomes the most important issue

industrial complexes.

and raw materials. While some people tried to tread the path of sustainable practices, they lacked the patience. Instead, the pursuit of self-gratification has arisen as the primary focus while this new Nomad society perceives itself as self-sufficient. These excessive activities

Influx of constant conflict Tech development depends on new materials and needs Focus shifts to agriculture Fight for food and energy

result in negative climate change and foster scarcity of food as species

As the collapse of the Contemporary

continue to be driven into extinction.

Era comes to a close, which includes the Technology Peak, communication, globalization, and industrial eras, mankind suffers in the wake of a global storm, unhinging the social beliefs it one held dear.

of the times. Since the end of the Contemporary Era, most food

War begets war, with no end in sight.

producers, such as plants have died,

Eventually, there is a tipping point,

agricultural development transcends as

someone accomplishes the arduous

the most important task that person can

task of cultivating a new historic value

dedicate themselves.

system, utilizing their innovation to save lives and put an end to the

Cross Road: (2073-2083) New social structure New emergence of tribalism Subculture empowerment WWIII

People move back to local regions

The scarcity of food

focusing on the goal of self sufficiency.

Restructuring generations to plot aptly on a timeline to create an era map

Finally, natural resources nearly cease to exists, exacerbating social conflicts, causing splintering, and unrest. The global economy collapses bringing to bear a time of great uncertainty.

16 / 17

continuous conflict. With this guiding light in hand, mankind will learn to leverage its newest asset, continuing its development ushering in a new era of innovation. Humanity will restore itself, and like the Phoenix, it too will arise from the ashes. A new dawn in human history is just on the horizon.

However, this is an age that is not easy

Chaos begets chaos. Society’s social

for one to live in. Many still live with the

structure reaches a point of schism,

harrowing memory of what many call,

humanity’s worldview shatters leaving

“the Collapse of the World,” still seeking

only one social motivator, guilt. With

their way in this new form of globalization,

a scarcity of food, some focus on

while enduring conflicts both big and

planting more food, while others obtain

small. Food and resources form constant

resources through stealing. The

Rebuilding human civilization

trigger points for new conflict.

scale of local conflict increases, thus

Seeking out mechanization

reviving old notions of tribal alliances

Robotic manufacturing

and confederacies for attacking and protection. A new darkness has befallen the world. People migrate from place

Dawn of New Humankind: (2083-2093) Increase in population New baby boom Mounting labor needs


Points in time that refer to the beginning of a transition or changing event.

It is a time for restoration and rebuilding


communities. Buildings, skyscrapers,

There are great lessons to be learned

and monuments will be rebuilt as a new

from the past, which in turn can help

face for society. In order to make up for

shape a desired future. In that spirit,

labor shortages, there will be a need

one direction forward used during

for mass automation of machinery for

research was to examine the history

production. Additionally, society must

of play and toys. This research focused

enact various policies for promoting the

on what we thought to be significant

re-growth of the population.

milestones in the historical evolution

18 / 19

of the artifacts of play and their Some professional disciplines will see

resulting creation.

a reoccurring rise in popularity such


A visual diagram for viewing multiple points in time.

as architecture, industrial design,

These interests were heavily nested

mathematics, medicine and health,

in repeated patterns throughout the

agriculture and other related programs

timeline that had direct or indirect effects

to manufacturing. As dawn was brought

on the conditions of play and toys. Some

a new day, how will humanity shape

of those involved the mimicry of toys and

itself in the generations to come?

play within everyday life. It was observed that toys act as a representation of the mindsets of society; while play was the result of what the imagination made possible for toys. These artifacts would take on the shape and form of the prevailing societal influence and that, in turn, would inform play. At times this pattern would also act in the reverse, and in others there would be no clear evidence to support which came first.

Layering major world events, technology, and social movements to hone in on play trends

For this purpose the timeline was an


ideal visualization tool that marked the

By researching through a plethora

trajectories for the path play and toys

of information, scenarios of deeper

would most likely take. The benefit

substance and insight can be planned.

is the ability to use this trajectory

As Schwartz states in The Art of the

in planning scenarios that take into

Long View, “investigation is not just a

account the historical context. The

useful tool for gathering facts. It hones

result is a more grounded and holistic

your ability to perceive.�

framework for imagining the future and its relevance to scenarios.

Discussing timeline visualizations to create the most intuitive, robust visual possible

Tool: Timeline

Components of Synthesis

Phase 2 Synthesis

Introduction to Synthesis for Scenario Planning


After research is collected, it is

amount of data is by clustering based

necessary to organize and synthesize

on similarities. This process is called

the resulting data in order to have

affinitizing and consists of identifying

useful and manageable information

common connections, casualties and

that can inform the scenario making

other kinds of relationships among the

process. This phase’s goal is to

data. This exercise allow a group to have

organize the collected information,

a better grasp of the information that is

interpret it, and find connections and

held and what information is missing in

relationships that will serve as the

order to build a stronger understanding

foundation for the development of

of the studied environment.

20 / 21

One way to consolidate the vast

Axes of Logic

A tool for building scenario mindsets and narratives.


A process of clustering data by likeness, seeking out patterns.

scenarios. This phase involved three steps: 1. affinitize information and

Customized PESTEL Framework

trends into categories, 2. assessment

PESTEL is a strategic management

of trends according to their level of

framework used to describe and analyze

uncertainty and impact, and 3. grouping

the macro- and micro-environmental

trends into Axes of Logic.

factors in terms of Political, Economical,

Tool: Affinitizing

Social, Technological, Environmental

This Phase Builds Understanding Only with knowledge and context can begin to extrapolate what is to come, building not simply futures of the what might be, but the futures that we ourselves want to create.

Affinitizing Information & Trends into Categories

and Legal. It acts as a system for placing

The collected research comes from a

pre-established categories for this

wide spectrum of disciplines, therefore,

project, others can be added including

it is necessary to consolidate and give

Health, Educational, and Culture (HEC).

structure in order to make it useful

The value of affinitizing trends and

and manageable.

drivers into categories aids in creating

information. In addition to these



a common language between the information, visualizing the intangible

Chermack, T. (2011). Scenario Planning in Organizations. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler. Schwartz, P. (1991). The Art of the Long View. New York: Random House.


The relationship of cause and effect upon different variables.

Assessment of Trends


already be seen. High uncertainty

Once all of the information has been

Once this data has been affinitized,

Uncertainty refers to the extent of

trends are those whose results cannot

affinitized into the matrix, those trends

assessment of the information is needed

which one can not be sure about the

be seen directly or with great precision.

that are low-to-medium uncertainty

in order to identify the trends that

plausibility of occurrence. The more

These potential trends often form the

and impact represent the pre-

are the most relevant to the project.

ambiguous and incomplete a driver

foundation of the scenario’s narrative.

determined elements of scenario

For this purpose, groups can be the

is, the higher its uncertainty level

The low to high rating of uncertainty

planning which set the basis for

methodology suggested by Ian Wilson

will be. The level of uncertainty may

is expressed from left to right along

storylines. Trends with high uncertainty

and Bill Ralston in The Scenario Planning

be assessed based on supporting

the axis.

and high impact represent the many

Handbook: Developing Strategies in

information for a trend, however, it

Uncertain Times. This method sorts

should be plotted on the axes.

information according to the levels of Tool: 3x3 Matrix

22 / 23

alternatives of the future to be explored. Following this, data should then be plotted based on the impact and the

uncertainty and impact that each data


relevance to the project. Here the

point has relevant to the industry.

This criteria will be analyzed based on

team should evaluate the relevance of

relevance and pertinence to the subject

each trend against the business and

matter. Here a group should consider

how its impact could challenge either

the correlations and secondary aspects

the market, the consumer behavior,

that can have influence on the business

or its manufacturing. For example,

or situation at hand. By looking for the

decisions of impact can be made based

causality of trends and drivers, data points

upon your organizations’s market,

can be placed with greater accuracy.

manufacturing, retail, and other factors. High impact trends will be placed higher

Scrutinizing current trends to pinpoint levels of uncertainty and impact Ralston, B., & Wilson, I.

Making the Assessment

on the axis while those with low impact

Assessment of information can be done

lie closer to the Axis of Uncertainty.

using a 3x3 or a 2x2 matrix. These mark

Using the data located within the high

the level of uncertainty from high to

uncertainty and high impact area can

medium to low along the horizontal axis

be combined in order to establish and

and the level of impact from high to low

explore different mind sets for the

on the vertical axis. The first step is to

scenarios. This process allows for a wide

plot the information along the axis of

range of alternatives and helps develop

uncertainty. Trends with low uncertainty

storylines with robust and holistic views.

(2006). The Scenario Planning

tend to have the highest likelihood

Handbook. South Western

of happening as their presence can


Grouping Trends

Grouping major trends and converting them to bipolar opposite axes

Conducting a Workshop

Tool: 2x2 Matrix

Tool: Mindmapping

Tool: Backcasting

Developing Axes of Logic

These initial ideas form the beginnings

Synthesizing as a Team

Axes of Logic help to build a frame of

of the scenario plots. Further

This process was developed and

reference and mindset around a scenario.

exploration is required after this

executed by a team of graduate

Each trend creates its own axis using

process, but the general scenario

students from the Savannah College of

opposing extremes of that individual

propositions are shaped and ready to

Art and Design (SCAD).

trend to build polarity with the actual

be leveraged.

trend hosted in the center. This activity

24 / 25

Their Value

acts as an all-inclusive perspective for


In the scenario planning process,

each trend.

A creative and exploratory process

workshops are a necessity. They offer

in its own right, mind mapping is a

the capability to bring a team together

Plotting Axes in a 2x2 Matrix

technique for extrapologating ideas

to achieve goals and expand ideas,

Once the axes have been developed,

and their interlocking connections. In

while bringing diversified mindsets into

the next step is to take two axes and

the workshop sections to come there

the same arena. There are many points

How-to Plan a Workshop

combine them into a 2x2 matrix. The

will be outlined applications for using

of value that workshops add to scenario

Every workshop must be planned and

resulting four quadrants blend the two

mindmaps to generate scenarios

development, most notably, that by

designed for execution. During the

topics generating multiple mindsets.

and narratives.

working in small groups, creativity and

planning phase there are a myriad

idea generation are multiplied by each

of variables that must be taken into


additional group member. Secondly,

account to ensure success. Here is a

This is a tool for exploring the future by

by including different perspectives, a

short list of items to be aware of items

extrapolating the past. Backcasting as

workshop can expand and take a group

to keep in mind.

a method allows for groups to define

from siloed thinking through

their the points in time that lead up to a

to collaboration. Below you will find

What to Achieve/Goal Setting

future environment.

a helpful step by step guide for

Before any workshop can be facilitated,

designing and staging a scenario

a series of agreed upon goals must be

prototyping workshop.

established. Goal setting will vary from workshop to workshop, but these are a key feature for ensuring that you take away just as much as you put in.

Backcasting trends to demonstrate their evolution and etymology

Discussing impact and uncertainty of trends and their relationship.


The established parameters by which a measurement can be gained.


Number of People & Why

thus it is also good to account for

Buckets: Building Categories

Just as with goals, metrics are a

Depending on the desired goals and

recording devices. These items can

Framework tools act as general

necessity for the planning phase. By

plan for the workshop, numbers play

be photographs, video and vocal

categories to which information can

setting criteria for judging a workshop’s

a key role in its success. Too many

recordings, and handwritten notes.

be placed. They allow for structure

successes and failures the facilitation

people within a single group can lead

team can ensure a level of measurability.

to distraction. If a workshop requires

Color Coding

identification. As noted previously

For a helpful starting point, metrics that

more than five active participants they

Color coding is a helpful way to gage

in the Research Phase of this toolkit,

can be included are: group cohesion

should be broken into two or more

group participation if the workshop

STEEP and PESTEL are useful for their

and collaboration, novel information

groups. A group should only consist of

team is composed of members from

generalizations to ensure that a variety

and conversation, and number of

three to five participants at any given

different departments or organizations.

of different data points can be included.

insights achieved.

time. This will ensure that each group

It acts as a perceptual tool and aid

Of course, STEEP and PESTEL are not

is manageable and that all participants

for both instant visualization and the

the only way to take ownership of data

Making an Agenda

can be active in the workshop. It is also

parsing or organization of ideas.

gathering. It is also suggested, that if

Putting a plan into action will require

helpful to use participant numbers to

both process and strategy. A clear

identify how many facilitators a group

workshop agenda will keep the group

should have. The planners should take

on track and on time, ensuring stability.

into account at least one lead facilitator and one who acts as an assistant.

and simple points of reference for

workshop success. It is best to hold a workshop in a room with open walking space to accommodate movement. A workshop also has material necessities as well. Materials should be provided in a highly visible manner, and usually Group participants to disperse knowledge and background for more well-rounded discussion

consist of easel pads or large sheets of butcher paper, large whiteboards and markers, large and small notepads, and sticky notes. Sessions should also be recorded for further reference,


The process of building multiple, lo-fidelity variations.


buckets are to added they should be

Workshop 1: Identifying Trends, Impact & Uncertainty

specific to the situation or organization

The following section can be used

plot trends and drivers it is best to use

as a guide for executing a scenario

(e.g. adding Marketing or Parenting). To sticky notes because they can be easily

prototyping workshop.

moved about.

Part 1: Identifying Trends & Drivers

Part 2: Introducing the Matrix

Location & Things to Provide Location is a key component for

26 / 27

The first step is for the group to build a robust list of drivers and trends. This can be executed by using different framework tools such as STEEP (Social, Technology, Environmental, Economic, and Political) or PESTEL (Political, Environmental, Social, Technology,





Make your own buckets

Part two operates in a two-step process. At this point, a matrix is used to plot the data gathered through the identification phase. The matrix can be either a 2x2 or 3x3 depending on the desires of the workshop planners.

Tool: 2x2 Matrix


Economic, Legal). Tool: 3x3 Matrix

Rating Uncertainty

Rating Impact

Overlaps & Differences

points. Conversational mapping will

As a group, the workshop participants

The second step is to then rate along

Looking for overlaps and differences

allow the group to see a visual dialogue

should first measure uncertainty

the vertical axis the level of impact or

stimulates groups to seek out patterns

of the overall reflection process. In

along the horizontal axis. To do this,

importance of the data. Like uncertainty,

and the relationships between them.

turn, this will offer a reference point to

participants will plot their trends and

impact is also rated as low to high. As

This is a time for questions and discourse

language used, their relationships to

drivers, that were gathered during the

a helpful tip, it is best to rate impact

where applying a familiar process, such

stories, and their tires to other points

previous exercise, based on a low to

based upon the relevance to the goals

as comparing two matrices, makes an

throughout the conversation.

high uncertainty scale.

of the workshop, whether that be

important task a part of a normal activity.

relevance to an organization, situation,

When conducting comparisons, it is

Part 3: Building Scenario Prototypes

or environment. This way impact can be

helpful to know where to begin: first look

This is the point at which the workshop

assessed using causality, or the relation

for commonalities in language between

scenario prototypes come about. There

of cause and effect. For example, how

the groups. This can include words or

are many different approaches that the

would impact be measured as it relates

groups of words. Secondly, compare

workshop can take at this point. You will

to a growing, global middle class?

the locations of these terms. How did

find a series of methods below.

28 / 29

Tool: Conversational Mapping

one group rate one term compared

Using the Uncertainty x Impact matrix as a vehicle for discussion

It is common to be asked, How do I rate a low to high uncertainty? A helpful tip is to discuss where there is current activity around a certain trend or driver.

Comparison (Optional)

to another? What are the differences

For workshops that contain multiple

and similarities in thinking between the

groups working independently on the

groups? Are their placements similar?

same process, looking for comparisons

Did one group note a particular set

between groups calls for a time of

of drives that another did not? How

reflection and conversation. To do this

differently did each group approach

it is best to take each group’s matrices

the project? Did one group focus more

and place them side by side.

internally while another externally?

If one of these data points can currently

Conversational Mapping

be seen as active in the news, internet,

To help record the discussion that takes

or market place, then it can be assessed

place during the reflection, it can be

that this point could be placed in the

helpful to have two or more workshop

low to mid uncertainty range. This does

assistants mapping the conversation.

not always hold true, for example, trade

This is a technique very similar to mind

laws are very certain but their time of implementation and specificity are highly uncertain.

mapping where an individual draws links



and connections between conversation

Using conversational mapping to record and visualize connections during a group synthesis discussion

High Impact/High Uncertainty

participants can begin setting the

axis within a 2x2 matrix. Using each axis

Next Steps

Before building the workshop

situation and context for a story to

as a guide, participants should then

Now that the workshop is complete

prototypes it is necessary to identify

blossom. The story prototype should

build environments around different

and a series of scenario prototypes

the areas of high impact and high

include a year or timeframe based on

quadrants within the 2x2. It is not

have been developed (numbers will

uncertainty. These are the key areas

the initially agreed upon goals of the

necessary to plot every quadrant, but

depend on the goals of the project,

from which a scenario is made. It is

workshop (e.g.. if the goal is to examine

at least two should be used together to

but it is good to have a range of three

here that the groups will choose a

20 years into the future, then choose a

build a scenario. (Although, sometimes a

to five) these can be taken and further

series of data points to use to frame

time within that scope). Other elements

“forced” quadrant adds to the thinking.

refined into full-length scenario narrates

their scenario plots. What makes this

should also be taken into account

quadrant a high value point is that it

such as protagonists, the physical


leverages what is the most unknown

environment, and the drivers and other

At the end of the workshop, it is

with what is considered the highest

elements that form points of interaction.

important to synthesize the scenario

impact, allowing for the greatest Point of Interaction

The intersection of many actions into one instant.

Tool: Axes of Logic

plausible futures to be generated.

30 / 31

Tool: Storyboarding

through secondary workshops or through group writing sessions.

prototype into a small storyboard Axes of Logic

to visually illustrate the ideas the

Axes of logics, help to frame mindset

participants have put into them.

Leveraging Conversational Mapping

plots for a scenario. To do this each

Storyboarding should not require an


group should choose between two

extreme amount of effort; however,

If the workshop contains more than one

to four data points from the high

having an industrial designer, illustrator,

group, and the conversational mapping

uncertainty and high impact quadrant.

or video planner as part of the

process is utilized, this can act as a

It is best to choose based on low or

workshop team can bring the necessary

creative combination tool for bringing

least commonality for later steps. Each

skill sets to visualize a scenario. When

in information across all groups. To

of those chosen are then placed in

storyboarding, it can be helpful to frame

conduct this exercise, choose a series

the center of a horizontal axis to build

whole sections of a plot in multiple

of three to four of the highest rated

separate logics. The reason for placing

panels, or depending on time, one

data points and choose three to four

them at the center point is to consider

frame can be used to illustrate each

elements from the map. These will

them as “business as usual” or taking

scene within the plot. Ultimately, this is

act as the scenario’s environment to

the mindset that this is nothing new.

a decision for the group to make.

which a plot is derived. At this point,

Now each group must build extremes

Bringing written scenarios to life through sequential storyboarding

based on the central point of each logic, these can be positive or negative. The next step in this process is take

Ralston, B., & Wilson, I.

each axis and plot them against another

(2006). The Scenario Planning Handbook. South Western Educational

Workshop 2: Era & Projection Mapping


As mentioned earlier within the toolkit,

page 11/12), that drive the evolution

Eras are periods in time, amalgamated

the work of Neil Howe and William

of time and society. Understanding

This section of the toolkit offers a

through their similarities in events

Strauss has been used to understand

the concept of Turnings and their

series of helpful workshop processes

and environments. They are tools for

the evolution of generations and

application in long term planning act

for understanding and leveraging

understanding the past and envisioning

identify archetypal markers that cycle

as a strengthening tool for

era and projection mapping for

the future; just as much as they are

throughout time. This has led them

understanding times of societal high

scenario development.

seen, they are felt, and they are

to build a generational framework

and catastrophic low.

experienced. However, eras are also

that is cyclical and based on four

The Value

dynamic and layered. While there may

core archetypes: the Hero, the Artist,


When building long range scenarios

be an overarching paradigm such as the

the Prophet, and the Nomad (refer

Planning plays an integral role in

(those in excess of 20 years) it is necessary

Renaissance or Enlightenment, there are

back to the charts on page 11/12).

working with long range scenarios.

to develop eras to map time placement.

always smaller, more tightly knitted

According to Howe and Strauss,

Depending on the situation and

This process allows those in the scenario

eras that fit within or overlap these

these cyclical archetypes consistently

goals of the project, it may not be

generation process to categorize time

larger expanses.

recur throughout time. Utilizing the

necessary to adventure so far out into

generational framework in scenario

the future. Ultimately, it comes down

based on projections. As teams move into more in depth scenario writing, these


building can help organize an

to the dependencies of the project

time plots will act as reference points

People form generations and they

understanding of the mindsets at work

parameters. However, it is suggested

marking similar events, or the emergence

in turn are defined by them.

within a particular time period.

that for looking even into the near

of a new paradigm shift.

Generations are social constructs for

32 / 33

future (5-20 years) that scenario projects

categorizing individuals born within a


certain timeframe, an average of about

Similar to generations, these are

20 years. Generations are thematic,

also a cyclical framework develop by

just as eras, containing archetypes

Howe and Strauss. Just as there are

that are collectively expressed

four generational archetypes, so too,

through similarities in ideals, desires,

are there four Turnings. Turnings are

and actions.

described as markers in time, repeating

leverage projection of time into their

cyclically. A Turning’s cycle is similar to that of a generation with an average of 20 to 30 years. Each of the Four Turnings exhibit certain elements, such Exploring the future always requires constant conversation

as they conflict, unification, or culture wars (refer back to the charts on

Sticky notes allow for quick prototyping and constant readjustment


The degree to which a scenario is believable.

process and backcast. Doing so allows


Rating More for Better Discourse

relevance to the mission, or relevance

for greater plausibility when narrating

Depending on the desires of the

Looking for Common Themes - After

to the project objective. A third metric

scenarios by allowing causality to be

workshop planning team, each station

the rotation sessions have been

should also include Blindspots, looking

viewed in the long term. If a scenario

can approach the scenario process

completed the groups should come

for challenges to the norm, or as yet

project is looking to understand a

differently, using methods supplied in

together to identify overarching themes

unseen new market potential.

situation in the coming 20 years then

the previous workshop descriptions; or

throughout their prototypes. Due to

the team should project 20 years further

each station can organically build their

group dynamics, each scenario will

Weighting Based on Percent

to explore the cause and

own approach through amalgamating

invariably have an elemental tie to

While using the Likert Scale for assigning

effect of the desired timeframe.

different processes.

another. Each team should bring their

numerical value is a plus, it is also a

scenario outline up and tell the whole

good idea for the group to identify


group a short story, incorporating the

weighted percentages on the value they

Each station should contain supplies

elements of the scenario. It is suggested

place on each individual metric. This will


to be used by the teams such as sticky

that while this is going on a workshop

be based on the nature and goals of

To conduct this workshop it is necessary

notes, markers, and easel pads.

facilitator or assistant is compiling the

the workshop itself, in some instances

common themes into a document.

plausibility may outrank relevance or

This is taking a holistic approach to better understanding.


A location where groups converge to participate in aspects of a workshop.

to set up a series of individual stations throughout a room or rooms. Depending on the numbers of those in the workshop and the desired number of teams (we suggest small teams of three), the number of stations will be dictated based on these constraints. Scenario Prototype Stations with Many People This is an optional workshop used to explore many multiple scenario prototypes using many participants (12 or more in number). The objective is not to generate high quality prototypes, but rather generate high quantity. This exercise is not only one of creative generation, but it one of fostering collaboration with fellow participants.

vice versa. Ultimately, the percentages

Group Rotation Rotation is a key aspect of this exercise.

Using Metrics to Rate

should total to 100. By weighting each

It allows for individuals to work with new

To build a better case for a scenario’s

metric a statistical numerical can be

members and experiment in new ways.

plausibility, the participants should rate

calculated for later plotting.

This should also be a time conscious

each scenario as a group based on

endeavor, accounting for a at least 30

decided a metric system. It is useful

Using a Spreadsheet

minutes per session.

to use to use a Likert Scale for the

A digital spreadsheet can as

rating, either a 1 to 5, 1 to 7, or 1 to

a marking board for rating the

10 should suffice.

prototypes. It is a highly useful tool when compiling data.

What Metrics to Use Metrics should always be specific to the particular goals of the project. First and foremost, each scenario should be rated based on Plausibility and Relevance. Relevance may also include relevance to the organization,

34 / 35

Likert Scale

A psychometric scale used to gage variables in questionnaires and interviews.


The degree to which a scenario is relatable to the key issues of the project.


The unforeseen areas of conflict or opportunity.

Tool: Spreadsheets

Tool: Visual Diagramming

Tool: Timeline

Part 1: Plotting through Time

Leveraging Generational Archetypes

Leveraging Trends & Drivers

Visual Diagramming

Using Howe’s archetypes as a

Now it is time to return to the matrices

Drawing out a timeline is a visual

foundation, the participants can take

used in previous workshops that

asset and is one that is necessary for

their work to a whole new level of

plotted trends and drivers based on

the workshop. By thinking visually, the

depth. These archetypes act as a

High Uncertainty and High Impact.

team has the ability to make tangible

cultural frame of reference and can be

The matrices’ sticky notes will become

their intangible thought. It acts

stacked based on each generation’s

transferred across the timeline.

as a medium for fostering conversation

age and position. At certain points in

and participation. This can be done

time one generation will be the acting

Rating Through Time Based

with a large easel pad or whiteboard,

primary workforce while another is at

on Uncertainty

whichever the participants decide

a point of retirement and another still

Here is the point at which the workshop

to utilize.

just newborns. Due to the nature of the

participants will rate their trends and

project’s scope, either global or local,

drivers along the timeline. This is a

it is important to take into account

process of marking out uncertainty,

that every region experiences different

similar to what was done with the

generations at slightly different times.

matrix before. Trends and drivers can

What might be a strong generation

be placed along the timeline at points

of Millennials in the U.S. and Europe,

where those in the workshop feel it

might be a slightly lagging generation

is most applicable. For example, one

of Millennials in South East Asia. Not

trend may already be seen as a budding

every generation or generational title

innovation, however, its entrance into

lines up universally.

the market may not be for another decade or more. These are necessary

Digitizing parts of synthesis can serve as a springboard for the entire group during a workshop, by supplying print-outs or hanging on walls

Marking Generations Once the timeline is drawn, it is important to mark out generations. Depending on the length and scope of the project this could be one or several generations of roughly 20 years in length. It makes for a valuable reference point when building upon generational mindsets.

points to take into account.

36 / 37

Using the Many Prototypes (optional) Using the many prototypes methodology applies the various scenarios to the timeline similar to that of trends and drivers. Here the group will plot out the basic outline of each scenario based its plausibility and possibility in time. Secondly, the group will utilize the metrics system they applied during the previous workshop by rating from high to low their scale. By doing this, the group will have

An outline helps build a narrative by identifying the cause and effect and linking them through time

Time Wave

The visualized flow of positive and negative points throughout time.

Tool: Time Wave

Tool: Mindmapping

Tool: Affinitizing

constructed a “time wave” visually

As answers and questions are drawn

Looking for Commonalities

Part 4: Building Era Archetypes

depicting both high and low points

visually, the group should then examine

Across Generations

Building Era Titles & Mindsets

throughout time. When building new

cultural pressures by looking to see

The next step within this process is

Developing names for eras is directly

eras later on, this will be a helpful

what are the key generational overlaps

to look across generations. Are there

related to the Pattern Recognition

visual diagram for capturing events

and archetypes that are in play. How

events or tipping points that are marked

phase of the workshop. As participants

and transitions.

does the leadership of one generation

by the rise of one generation that echo

notate their descriptions of generations

affect the reactions by the generation

their wake into generations further

and events these will become the

Part 2: Building Time based Events

that immediately follows? Again, this

down the road? Is there any causality?

guiding force for naming eras. It is


adds further layering, enriching the

Does one series of events cause cultural

important to remember that where one

To build events and turning points to

scenario development process.

revolutions between generations

era begins another era does not always

as seen with Boomer generation

end, but rather they overlap and flow

throughout the 1960s and 70s?

over, under, and through one another.

give structure and breadth, it is useful to capitalize on mind mapping. This

Part 3: Pattern Recognition (Affinitizing)

exercise will combine many factors

Looking for Commonalities in Decades

from the plotted trends or scenario

Now that the workshop team has

Recognizing Time Waves

prototypes, archetypal mindsets, and

created a rich and flowing timeline of

Time waves were mentioned earlier

Howe’s generations. This fusion builds

events it is time to seek out patterns

within this workshop as a visual

creative, believable, and immersive

and ask even more questions about

diagramming tool. They are referred to

narrative threads that emerge from

the nature of the future. At this point,

as waves for their ebb and flow of the

linking patterns. Here is a process

the participants should first look across

positive and the negative throughout

example for guidance: Assume that one

decades for commonalities. Have there

time. By visualizing time waves, can any

of the plotted trends is “Emergence

been cycles of financial depression?

large cycles be noted, such as Turnings?

of Africa as a manufacturing Mecca.”

What about materials usage? It is

Do peaks in the waves arise out of crisis

It shall act as the center point on the

helpful to seek out patterns and

or cultural enlightenment? How does

mind map. From there, the participants

overarching themes. Do some themes

one wave beget the next?

must ask questions, such as What would

resonate while others are shorter lived?

be the cause of this?, Why Africa? and What pressures have caused this paradigm shift? It is once again a time where communication among participants is most crucial.

38 / 39

Scenario planning is iterative, always refer back to previous actions and frameworks. There is never a need to reinvent the wheel.

Titling & the Value of Words

With an in-depth timeline built, rich

Words hold immense power and that

social and generation constructs

power must be leveraged during the

mapped, and well defined eras in place,

naming process. Names should be

participants are well prepared to

no longer than a single word or short

build comprehensive narratives to

phrase. Brevity is an asset that should

their scenarios.

not be denied. For help, have each participant list out a series of different eras in the past and ask why that title gives power and how does it describe the time from which it came? Summarizing Eras The final phase that participants should undertake, is one of synthesis. Titling an era covers only a fraction of the breadth the workshop team has accomplished. Now it is necessary to digest and immerse oneself into to the material to summarize the compiled data. Summaries can take many forms, however, they should not only include an overview of the era along with its titles, there should also be a list of the positives and negatives that are faced at that time. For a sample, refer back to the Era Analysis section of this toolkit for a guided reference.

Schwartz, P. (1991). The Art of the Long View. New York: Random House.

40 / 41

Writing Scenarios Phase 3


Trends & Drivers

Uncertainty/Impact Matrix

The task of developing future scenarios

Through the gathered research, the

for any subject matter (activity, entity

team will be able to identify many

or element) requires specific research

varying forces. The relevance of these

aimed at covering the wide range of

forces to the scenario planning process

topics that can affect it. These topics

can be determined on the basis of

can be as diverse as the task’s scope

uncertainty and the level of impact

permits, and should tap into the

on the subject matter. The matrix

core of the subject matter as well as

consists of a scale from low to high of

in issues that could at first glance

uncertainty and impact, which is directly

appear off topic.

related to the effects, or how important the data point is for the subject matter.

Being conscious of how different

This Phase is the Capstone

systems, (be that understood as

Deciding on where to locate trends

economic, environmental, social,

within the areas of the matrix is up to the

political, etc.) affect the subject matter

team members, either by an individual

is key to directing the research scope. It

decision or a consensus after an open

is from this extensive research bank that

discussion. The forces in the areas with

the groups can become well equipped to

higher uncertainty and higher impact will

identify the myriad number of forces that

be most relevant to address for scenario

form all the different systems consisting

building, because these lead to the most

of past, present and future trends.

different and significant future that form

This phase will be the culmination of all your hard work and planning. While fun, it is necessary to maintain a strategic approach to retain the foundational elements.

the foundation to write about within The Trends and Drivers systems map

the scenario. It is important that other

serves as reference point throughout the

elements located in the low and medium

whole scenario planning process; as a

areas are not forgotten as they frame the

tool the team can go back to it to guide

details when creating scenarios.

approaches in developing scenarios.

42 / 43

Tool: Systems Map

Tool: 3x3 Matrix

It’s an Iterative Process

Tool: Mindmapping

Tool: Storyboarding

Best Practices


To better understand the dynamic

3 X 3 Matrix

Scenario Mindmaps

Each new scenario project is different,

processes of scenario planning, two

The elements of the system maps were

Mindmapping is an approach to

and the development team must

teams of SCAD graduate students

separated and scaled in the uncertainty/

developing scenarios that visualizes how

leverage the appropriate tools for

formed to explore cultivate a mindset

impact matrix.

elements of the scenario relate within

each. This comes from the premise that

for scenario planning. Here you will find

the systems that make up the narrative.

you cannot contextualize information

a breakdown of each team’s approach

Before, we discussed identifying forces

the same if the narrative is different. It

and the narratives that evolved. The two

around systems for organizing trends;

becomes important to tailor specific

teams, Red and Blue, independently

mindmapping is similar in that it relates

tools for each scenario to appropriately

leveraged similar and different tools for

forces around the systems that construct

address the narrative.

their process.

the narrative. PESTEL Analysis

Tool: Backcasting


44 / 45


PESTEL analysis is a way to deepen a

When creating a scenario about the

team’s understanding of the political,

future it can be helpful to show a visual

environmental, social, technological,

narrative that allows all members of

legal and economic circumstances that

the team to understand and have

set the stage for scenarios, narratives,

context for how the scenario would look

and projections. If a PESTEL analysis is

and feel. Storyboards help make the

employed before a narrative is created

abstract more realistic.

the narrative stands a better chance of

Team Red Approach Trends and Drivers Systems Map The trends identified by the team members during research were explored by using mindmaps. This method enabled the team’s conversation around relationships of cause and effect. Using this approach, trends were analyzed based on systems.

being robust and plausible because such Backcasting

a tool forces the team to think about the

Once relevant trends and drivers were

The ability to backcast can make the

important aspects relevant to the project

identified by the group, it was helpful

distant future more accessible by

that can easily be glossed over when

to map these according to the systems

allowing team members to create a

thinking about an abstract of the future.

they belong to. The team gathered

scenario that includes a series of events

It is a tool for grounding the team.

all of the forces identified around an

leading up to the ideas that frame the future and/or storylines. It is a tool for guiding history in scenarios.

environment while at the same time highlighting those that appeared more relevant to the task. Team Red found it to be a useful tool to reference a mindset for the subsequent scenario planning process.

For this step each team member chose a few data points to place on the matrix by themselves while other elements were organized based on group

Using the 3x3 matrix to cluster trends can provide insight into company blindspots and create direction for pertinent scenarios

discussion. At this point, it was very important to establish and how rate each element played in its impact on your organization. Scenario Mind Maps

Tool: Systems Map

Returning to system thinking, the narratives for the scenarios were envisioned by the team members based on relationships of causality. Team Red discussed and explored the

Tool: 3x3 Matrix

many implications that chosen drivers

Structures For Scenarios

technology helps humanity. Robots

to the people who never stood a

could have for a future trend. From

Scenario mindmaps were the team’s first

form the base of the pyramid,

chance? Thus evolves a lower than low

this exercise narratives were created

step for constructing the scenario. Next,

obediently taking care of all those

class, one of extreme poverty, where the

that explored future developments

the team organized the elements

activities that humanity does not want

structure of the government remains in

within areas such as social, economic,

of the scenario according to its specific

or finds too dangerous.

its top down hierarchy.

environmental or political. With further

context within a framework that

development of key narrative points

communicates the narrative. These

The question that arises is, What

Building scenarios through polarized

such as characters and conflicts, these

models were developed as a

happens with society? If we start

thinking is not the proper approach

stories evolved into scenarios.

visualization method and serve as

thinking about toys, about play, or any

to take. Extremes only bring about

organizers of the narrative’s elements

other facet of life, we need to take into

black and white outcomes, never truly

and information.

consideration the environment and the

reflecting reality. However, there is still

society around which these can evolve.

an opportunity to mold and merge. The

Robot’s Era Our biggest dreams vs our biggest fears

Robot’s Era Fragmented world

One Nation-earth

Scarcity of resources Food, energy, space, clean environments

High Class


Toys As companionship and educational support (only for the privileged)

Scenario opportunity

The few remaining natural resources are onle for the privileged

The technological advances evolve in a way that everyone is highly intelligent There is not scarcity of resources anymore


The technological advances evolve in a way that only few people get benefit from it

Food technology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, new clean energy sources championed world’s problems

Unique Class

No poverty, no hunger Toys Administrators


As companionship and educational support for everyone

Lower than low class

next task at hand was to mix the poles,

In the scenario titled Robot’s Era, the

In this scenario there is a single social

finding a path of opportunity to create

team explored how our biggest dreams

class due to the fact that the world has

a narrative, because as history has

about technology come true but also

moved beyond its difference into a

shown, not everything ends well and

how these can become our biggest

new state of being. Work is thus taken

neither does it all end horribly. History

fear. This is an example of forming a

over by robots while people expand

will always be a mixture of the two. This

narrative which takes into consideration

the creative job market. Here there is

is where Team Red found a scenario

the process. Technology is taking us to

no hierarchical government; it has been

opportunity, exploring what is already

a different place; it is shaping the way

substituted by the Administrators who

happening and incorporating elements

we interact, the way we communicate,

serve the people.

that could happen. The pyramid acts as

the way we grow, and the way we play. Social Classes High class Robots Low class lower that the robots

Social Classes Unique class: devoted to creative works Robots: Menial jobs (production, maintenance, security)

There is not middle class Catastrophic gap between High Class & Low Class

Socio-economical structure Leader as an administrator

Socio-economical structure Top-down Leadership


But what happens if all goes wrong? On the positive side of that story,

What if we turn the tide from positive to

Busy Parents: Too Big to Fail

humanity moves into a golden age:

negative? What if humanity can solve its

Imagine for a moment, global warming

technology evolves, issues of global

problems and yet catastrophe strikes?

rapidly continues for the worse; a

food development are solved, medical

The gap between those in a favorable

problem humanity must fix immediately.

advancements cure disease and

position and those that are not will

All of society must channel their efforts

affliction. This is a happy world where

expand and deepen. If robots remain

into righting an ecological wrong. As a

humanity’s labor force, what will happen

consequence parents do not have time


Administrator People

Visualization of the Robot’s Era People can not make their way up

People can make their way up

Education System Homogeneous Standardized education Not non standard systems (loss of Montessori)

a model from which narratives evolved.

46 / 47

for their childrens’ personal care. There

Maybe the children only see their

technology has reached its maximum

Council’s mega trends publication

is not even time to care for a pregnancy

parents once a week or once a month

and now updates are only software?

Alternative Worlds: Global Trends 2030.

or care for the infant in its first years.

or once a year. How can connections

The newest and latest information

Rather than natural child birth, people

be kept? Here we can begin to see how

comes in the form of plug-ins. Artifacts

By looking for patterns the team was

begin having children by surrogacy

toys could act as a new interface.

become generic with information acting

able to cluster their drivers into six

as the change agent. By thinking about

key groups: Economic, Materials/

and sending them away to be raised. This leads to the creation of cities for

Ubiquitous Technology

this, we also start exploring ideas about

Technology, Disruptive Technology,

children, a location for their growth

Returning back to technology, it acts

toys. Maybe there is a new trend for

Global Shifts, Communities/Social, and

and development.

as a change agent, shaping the way

toys within that framework. What if the

Individual Mindsets. These acted as

we interact. Now begin imaging, what

shape of the toy is no longer relevant

buckets to help build context.

If in this environment parents are not

happens if instead of investing in

anymore, but rather it is the content

there but rather traveling and working

technology for robots it was invested

along with new subscriptions? So now

around the clock. The toy, then, evolves

in ourselves. What if humanity became

instead of purchasing new items, users

part of that computing power that

just buy a subscription and the new

is everywhere and in everything?

information comes straight to you. Now

What if the wireless Internet was truly

backcast to the near-term, physical toys

ubiquitous? WiFi would be a word

are a subscription based service, like

of the past, rather than hotspots,

early Netflix DVDs. The effect on toy

hotspaces would exist, the Internet

design would focus on materials that

would be everywhere. How would that

could be steralized and refurbished.

Ubiquitous Technology: Era of the Subscriptionto Internet is everywhere like air

between the parents and their kids.

Rich class is the owner of Hardware Mattel as a hardware super power for toys Family Dynamic Goes back to regional Family Cults Support

be a new interface of interaction

Clothes Clothes are intelligent Monitor body

Less materialistic Simplicity No extra items No so many devices because everything is integrated into the chips

Toys Grow with child Form no longer important (generic) Updates to the software & plug ins

Communication Virtual & Real are one

Information Magazine/News on updatable tablets Chips to enhance your body Army Sports Entertainment Babies Start walking at birth End of Obesity Nanotech nourishment

Massive Middle Class Creating and consuming contents

Software generation is a worldwide language The masses are the content generators (Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter)

Regional States Homogeneous so no need to travel

Cult to the past Old world things are given more value Vintage = $$$

Loss of Renaissance Man

Small low class can move up

affect change? In this scenario our world would become the Era of the

Team Blue Approach

Subscription. Some of these things are

Trends and Drivers

already happening; we have devices

Team Blue examined and analyzed

with constantly updating information.

48 separate trends that can be seen

End of Moore’s Law: Next computer is almost same as the previous in power & capacity

as drivers across the globe. The 48 Work is service Upgrade Service Subscription for clothes by season There are no longer recurrent purchases

Learning Development is the priority over beauty Apprenticeship as the way we learn School is so yesterday’ You just need to know one thing deeply

Super human (enhanced) Death of the ugly baby Beauty is not scarce, it is common Lower class makes their way up by using their enhanced bodies

Editor’s Era Curator Creative because you have to individualize yourself Perception of Beauty Changes because is everywhere People Nature

Visualization of the Ubiquitous In this scenario, technology is diffused everywhere changing the way we Economic Technology Social Technology

consume products and information. It is the end of Moore’s Law, so the power of computers is growing on a slow basis. This causes new ideals in not only businesses and products, but affects our daily lives and

What if we translate that to everything?

trends were collected from three key

What if clothing were imbued with

areas: previous research conducted

such technology and we simply

by a team working for World Wildlife

download the latest versions or trends

Fund Switzerland, articles from Time

of the season? What if devices were

Magazine, and the National Intelligence

generic, because the development of

Clustering trends into categories allowed us to examine patterns and derive insights into the macro forces affecting the world today. Following this clustering process the team began plotting the

48 / 49

Disruptive Technology

Innovation that redefines a market or environment.

Global Shifts

A high level transition marked across different geographical locations.

Individual Mindsets

The views and understanding carried by a single person.

data points on a scatter plot analyzing their impact and uncertainty based on the information that was obtained. Backcasting In order to more accurately envision the world to come Team Blue backcasted scenarios about the future by establishing a version of the future and looking to the future’s past. Whereas forecasting looks ahead in an attempt to predict the future, backcasting creates the future by looking backwards in an

Tool: Backcasting



A storyline through which characters, artifacts, and environments interact.

attempt to find the pressures that lead

PESTEL Analysis

Andy’s trip to school where his B.O.B.

to the ending environment. Instead of

Team Blue then built a PESTEL analysis

wristband projects a holographic

moving from a point in the present,

to deepen the understanding of

message from his dad into his palm,

backcasting involves creating a scenario

the political, environmental, social,

telling him that our human-like robot

that one anticipates in the future, and

technological, legal and economic

B.O.B. would be there waiting for

follows the steps backwards from that

circumstances based on the initial

him at the bus stop when he returned

scenario to the present situation.

trends and drivers research . Following

from school that day. Once at school

this, a target story diagram was

Andy places his wrist on an interactive


created to visualize the key influencers,

desktop and his B.O.B. wristband

As the foundation of the team’s

environment, and the scenario’s

downloads all of his homework so

scenario, they began using the four

protagonist, Andy.

that he has no need for a backpack or

50 / 51

carrying heavy books back and forth.

generational archetypes created by Neil Howe and William Strauss in their book


Andy’s education is super focused

Generations: The History of America’s

As a child of the Nomadic generation,

and relevant to the world he lives in,

Future, 1584 to 2069 . This scenario

Andy grew up with a toy system that

capitalizing on the best interactive

his calendar and giving him relevant

projected 36 years in the future, three

was an omnipresent part of his life. In

technologies. While eating lunch Andy

weather, news and advice based upon

generations past our current adult

this concept of the future, technology

thinks about how much he can’t wait to

the course of his life.

generation. As a result the group

plays an integral part of Andy’s learning

get home and play with B.O.B. Once

planned for the year 2049 in which the

from how to walk in early childhood

school ends he gets off of the bus and


“Nomad” generation would be active

to a day at elementary school. In this

runs off with B.O.B. to play with his

To bring this narrative to life we

parents of young children.

future children sleep in environmentally

buddies and their toy systems outside.

sketched storyboards for the team’s

controlled conditions, encapsulated

idea of how a lifetime toy system might

Using the aforementioned axis, trends,

by a glass dome that projects a starry

As a way of envisioning how this

work. Storyboards allowed Team Blue

and drivers, the team created a matrix to

night over their bed for optimal sleep

scenario might work at further

to visualize how such a system might

brainstorm logical sequences for

patterns. The environment outside is

increments into the future the team

grow with Andy, the Nomad child of the

each generation plotting trends and

not much different than what we know

developed story frames of the evolution

future, in detail.

influencers from previous exercises in

it today, however, the urban landscape

of B.O.B. growing up with Andy, as a

order to contextualize the scenario work.

has evolved to be more forested than

mentor in high school to a more virtual

concrete jungle. In the team’s narrative

presence in the form of wearable

the Best of Buddies (B.O.B.) system

technology that leverages B.O.B.

takes many forms as visualized through

as his personal assistant managing

Bringing the narrative to life through storyboarding

Tool: Storyboarding

Storytime Screening Scenarios

Insights and Knowledge

With everything that has been noted

As previously mentioned, using metrics

How many insights were obtained

throughout this book, you can explore

to screen scenarios is imperative to

throughout the process? Do the

the culmination of the scenario planning

maintaining an objective viewpoint. The

numbers of insights denote significant

work done by the SCAD graduate

following will help you develop your

opportunity for strategic planning?

students. These scenarios will provide

own apt metrics.

Does management have a diverse

an insight into the finalized work along

understanding of its plan for the future?

with complete scenario narratives. It is

52 / 53

the expressed hope of this group that Relevance

this toolkit will prove to be a highly

Have the results that have been

valued utensil for further endeavors and

generated by the team have relevance

explorations of scenario planning.

to the project, organization, or situation? Design How strong do each of the scenario

Choosing scenario path through time to leverage a scenario story arc

titles feel? Are they creative, appealing, and engaging? Or lackluster and dull? Empathy Using metrics to objectively evaluate scenarios on Relevance to Fischer-Price and play, Plausibility, and Blindspots


Do each of the final narratives build a

How well were the narratives and plots

feeling of empathy? Do the characters

constructed? Do they reach a depth that

and events within the scenario feel

is applicable to the project? Are they

engaging and believable?

challenging enough to promote change while still remaining plausible? While it


may be hard to place a numeric value

Does each scenario build an environment

to a qualitative story, judging a narrative

from which one can explore new

helps frame the relevance of the

possibilities? Is the scenario expansive

overall outcome.

enough? Can strategic ideas can be experimented anywhere throughout the

Chermack, T. (2011). Scenario

narrative? How well does each scenario

Planning in Organizations. San

cultivate and explain the outcomes to

Francisco: Barrett-Koehler.

“what if, why not�?

Tool: Storyboarding

The Team


Bob Fee Program Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Design Management Hometown: El Dorado, KS Favorite Toy: Kit Carson Cap Gun

Oak Borriraklert Design Management, MFA Candidate Hometown: Paisali, Thailand Favorite Toy: Hotwheels & Robot model-making kits

Rich Ekelman Service Design, MFA Candidate Hometown: Burlington, NJ

The Nitty-Gritty Details

Favorite Toy: Cozy Coupe

The following section will provide the minute details that aided the group in this journey. The meat-and-potatoes if you will.

Carol Lora Design Management, MFA Candidate Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico Favorite Toy: Ken

54 / 55

Morah Lutz-tveite

Caleb Sexton

Luxury & Fashion Management, MFA Candidate

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Hometown: Turscaloosa, AL

Favorite Toy: Barbie

Favorite Toy: Jurassic Park Toys from 1990’s

Priscila Mendoza

Nicholas Schroeder

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico

Hometown: Bowling Green, OH

Favorite Toy: Malibu Barbie

Favorite Toy: Nintendo 64

Mariana Ortiz-Reyes

Azadeh Seyed Abrishami

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Hometown: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Hometown: Tehran, Iran

Favorite Toy: Polly Pocket

Favorite Toy: Play with ants, Lego, and clay

Kelvin Patterson

Bhavika Shah

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Design Management, MFA Candidate

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Hometown: Katy, TX

Favorite Toy: Erector Set

Favorite Toy: Slinky

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Reading List Rundown Beyond Human: Living

The 2012 Best

with Robots and

American Science

Service Design, MFA Candidate

Cyborgs by Gregory

Writing by Michio Kaku

Hometown: Bowling Green, OH

Benford and Elisabeth

and Jesse Cohen

Favorite Toy: Littlest Pet Shop


Lindsay Vetell

Jonas Xu

The Next 500 Years:

Physics of the Future:

Life in the Coming

How Science Will Shape


Human Destiny and Our

by Adrian Berry

Daily Lives by the Year

Industrial Design, MFA Candidate

2100 by Michio Kaku

Hometown: Shanghai, China Favorite Toy: Gundam from Bandai

Scenario Planning in Organizations by

Geography of Time

Thomas J. Chermack

by Robert V. Levine

Rethinking Education in The Age of Technology by Allan Collins and

Cognitive Precursors

Richard Halverson

to Language by Brian MacWhinney

The Winter of History by Neil Howe

Born to Be Mild by Alexandra Marshall

58 / 59

Definitions Letters from 500 by


Archetypes: An example or

Cognitive Maps: Applying metaphor

Robert Lee Potter, Judy

by Barry Wellman

broad theme that applies to a person

to the notion of mental models.

Morris Welder and Stefan Bright

or context. Prophet: Generations that are born after a great war or other

Art of the Long View

crisis, during a time of rejuvenated

by Peter Schwartz

community life and consensus around a new societal order.

Critical Uncertainties: Intimately related to predetermined elements, they can be identified by questioning assumptions about predetermined elements.

Nomad: Generations that are born

Endogenous Variables: Internal

during a spiritual awakening, a

variables that are often produced in the

Globalization: A Very

time of social ideals and spiritual

feedback within the system, and they

Short Introduction

agendas when youth-fired attacks

then become coupled with the inputs to

by Manfred Steger

breakout against the established

the system.

institutional order. Hero: Generations that are born after a spiritual awakening, during The Diamond Age by

a time of individual pragmatism, self-

Neal Stephenson

reliance, laissez faire, and national (or sectional or ethnic) chauvinism. Artist: Generations that are born during a great war or other

Exogenous Variables: Variables that are easily identified as external and are not often hidden. Friction: the nuances and double checks that occur in the social interactions among humans in work processes.

historical crisis, a time when great

Forecasts: A judgment or

The 500 Year Delta:

worldly perils boil off the complexity

understanding crystallized in a figure

What Happens After

of life and public consensus,

which acts as a substitute for thinking

What Comes Next by

aggressive institutions, and personal

for the person who uses it.

Jim Taylor and Watts

sacrifice prevail. Generation: The aggregate of all

Wacker Challenging: The degree to which

people born over roughly the same

a scenario distances itself from the

span of a phase of life.

status quo.

60 / 61

Impact: The degree to which a variable

Meaning: A metric for exploring

Plausibility: The degree to which

Relevance: The degree to which a

can have the greatest effect to an

if the participants and members

a scenario is believable.

scenario is relatable to the key issues

organization or system.

of the organization internalize and

Key Decision Factors: The key

take ownership of the scenarios they develop.

scenario is written.

externalities or outcomes about the future that one would like to know

Nine Performance Variables:

about to improve the quality and

Constructed by Rummler and Brache,

relevance of one’s decisions.

it is a matrix tool used to explore performance improvement

Mental Models: Relatively enduring

within the process level throughout

and accessible, but limited internal

an organization. Official Future: A term coined by the Stanford Research Initiative (SRI)

Metrics: The established parameters

to mean status quo scenario chosen

by which a measurement can be gained.

by management.

Design: A metric for examining if a scenario well executed, crafted, and organized. Story: A metric for looking at a scenarios plot.

to exterior variables.

organization working on the issue.

Evolution: A plot evolves slowly

Representations: The way humans build

over time.

“stand-ins” for reality in their minds.

Revolution: An unpredictable, Cycles: Events and variables that face transitions of growth and decline. Infinite Possibility: The perception

Scenario: A storytelling tool for changing and understanding people’s perceptions. Scenario Logics: The general frameworks or plots of a scenario.

that a given force will continue to

Planning: A discipline of building

My Generation: A plot featuring

one’s perceptions about alternative

a set of internally consistent and

major social shifts that present

imagined futures in which decisions

themselves in the form of generations.

decisions might be played out.

about the future can be played out,

Friendships: A plot featuring

Sign Posts: Key indicators within the

improving decision making, fostering

within a scenario.

human and organized learning and

Empathy: A metric that looks for

improving performance.

environment and personality.

mental model than those inside the

Scenario Planning: A tool for ordering

for systems thinking in application

Play: A metric for exploring creative

a completely different outlook or

grow and expand, infinitely.

for the purpose of changing thinking,


actions of a group are the response

Remarkable People: People with

Performance-based Scenario

Symphony: A metric that looks

the suspension of disbelief by

Challenge and Response: The

dramatic change.

conceptual representation of an external system.

of the project. Plots: The underlying storyline that a

Performance Diagnosis Matrix: Developed by Swanson, it is a matrix tool designed to explore a number or critical variables to consider in the context of performance problems.

friendships, separation, and reconciliation. Epic: A group travels from one

future environments in which one’s

world that aid in identifying shifts of upcoming events on which an organization can act.

destination to another. Social, Technological, Economic, Predetermined Elements: Predictable

Environmental, and Political (STEEP)

elements that do not depend on a

Forces: A tool for examining and

particular chain of events.

structuring information into categories to explore external environments.

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Stickiness: Refers to the difficulty

Third Turning: Marked as an

in information transfer between or

Unraveling, the mood of this era

among people.

is in many ways the opposite of a High. Institutions are weak and

Strategic Conversation: The

distrusted, while individualism is

engagement of multiple stakeholders

strong and flourishing.

participating in and ongoing dialogue about organization strategy. Titles: A critical element of scenarios that allow readers to connect to a story. Turnings: A theory of generational cycles developed by Strauss and Howe. First Turning: Marked as High, this is an era when institutions are strong

Fourth Turning: Marked as a Crisis, this is an era in which national institutional life is torn down and rebuilt from the ground up—always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. Variables: Any number of changeable attributes within a given situation.

and individualism is weak. Society is

Wicked Problems: They are large

confident about where it wants to

complex problems that contain many

go collectively, even if those outside

uncertainties and determining variables

the majoritarian center feel stifled

with no clear solution.

by the conformity. Second Turning: Marked as an Awakening, this is an era when institutions are attacked in the name of personal and spiritual autonomy. Just when society is reaching its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of social discipline and want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity.

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Profile for Bhavika Shah

Rain or Shine: A Scenario Planning Toolkit  

A Collaborative Guide to Forecasting and Scenario Planning

Rain or Shine: A Scenario Planning Toolkit  

A Collaborative Guide to Forecasting and Scenario Planning