thenextwave

My chapter in new scenarios book

Posted in books, future, scenarios by thenextwavefutures on 22 October, 2007

Scenarios For Success book cover

I have a chapter in Scenarios for Success, edited by Kees van der Heijden and Bill Sharpe, and just published by Wiley. The book came from a meeting of the Oxford Futures Forum aabout eighteen months ago, and includes, I think, quite a lot of innovative material on scenarios techniques and methods. (The editors were pretty tough in getting their contributors – well, certainly this contributor – to develop their thinking).

My chapter, “Acting on the Future”, tries to understand what it is about scenarios processes that enables diverse groups then to act on the outcomes. Broadly, my conclusion is that scenarios have two qualities that make this possible: first, they are mutually constructed ‘boundary objects‘ which let groups with different expertise, experience, mental models, etc, have a common conversation; and secondly, drawing on the work of Charles Tilly, they allow the development of an inclusive narrative which contains all of the important elements of the futures story, but not technical aspects which act as a barrier. They also need to be ‘open’, in that they set out to address ‘problem-setting’ rather than ‘problem-solving’ (the scenarios process should be part of the process of ensuring that the group is addressing the right problem).

A list of the contents can be found here, at the Wiley site, along with a downloadable chapter (conversations with Napier Collyns and Peter Schwartz by Bill Sharpe).

Amazon is offering it (new) at at a 50% discount (from the eye-watering cover price of £34.99). If you prefer to buy it from a bookseller, and pay full price, this is the Blackwell’s link.

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