This article examines how scenarios can be more than a futures studies tool, and looks at the necessary epistemological, methodological, and ethical criteria for such scenarios. The aims that guide scenarios and, hence, those that can spring from a human and social perspective are considered. In the authors' view, scenarios tend to broaden mental frontiers because they are multidisciplinary, multidimensional, and drawn from different experiences, “ways of knowing” and personalities. An overview of the various ways of planning and developing scenarios is presented on the basis of the recent literature on the subject. The overview is followed by a presentation of the basic procedures culled from the authors' own international experience. The need for adaptation and the recognition of differences, such as regional variations, are also highlighted. Common characteristics are described with some illustrative cases, for example, the futures-thinking exercise undertaken by a major religious order. Indeed, the cases reveal how the scenario-building procedure may be adapted to different contexts given its flexibility. The essential message is that the effective use of scenarios requires humility, adaptability, and persistence.
Technological Forecasting and Social Change – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2000
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