The purpose of this paper is to formally introduce the future persona, a futures method to let scenarios come to life. A future persona is a scenario-specific fictional individual living in the future scenario (s)he is meant to depict. The paper provides a formal, systematic and clear step-by-step guide on how to create engaging and effective future personas after a scenario planning exercise.Design/methodology/approachAfter having introduced the future persona method, tracing it back to the customer persona method in user centered design (UCD) and differentiating it from previous uses of futures characters in the futures studies literature and in other domains, an example of the creation process of four future personas based on four scenario archetypes of the futures of work is provided, illustrated with pictures and discussed.FindingsFuture personas, with their narratives and graphical illustrations, are found to be particularly useful to convey scenarios to a target audience.Practical implicationsFutures personas can be used in a scenario planning exercise to increase the clarity of scenarios in the mind of scenario planners and to let scenarios be known inside an organization.Originality/valueFuture personas can substantially enrich scenarios, increasing their liveliness, playfulness and empathy.
foresight – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 5, 2019
Keywords: Future character; Future persona; Futures method; Illustration; Narrative scenario; Scenario communication