Scenarios, the world economy and poverty

Posted in economics, global, politics, poverty, scenarios by thenextwavefutures on 6 October, 2012

A couple of years ago The Futures Company collaborated with the Institute of Development Studies on an ambitious futures project which was designed to understand the possible futures of a post-crash global economy, and then to identify impacts for development. One of the conditions of the tender was – unusually – that we subsequently write up the work for academic publication, and the paper we wrote for the journal Foresight has recently been commended as one of the best papers in the journal during 2011. In turn, this means that it’s available for open download until 10th October from the website of the publishers, Emerald.

The client for the project was a British government department, and the sponsor within the department was sure that he didn’t want the scenarios to be developed using the mainstream 2×2 double uncertainty method. I was fairly sure about this as well; for one thing, I didn’t believe – given that the scope of the scenarios was the entire global economy – that the 2×2 would produce sufficient nuance, and secondly, I knew from experience that while it is possible to translate 2×2 scenarios into soft models, just about, the translation can be messy.

For our part of the work (on which I worked with my colleague Joe Ballantyne), therefore, we used a ‘light’ version of morphological analysis – largely for reasons of time – substituting a form of pattern analysis for computer-based analysis. In turn this meant that Andy Sumner of the IDS, the paper’s third author, was able to draw out the main elements that linked the national economies to the global economy and categorise them.

I’m proud of the paper, which I think describes well the way that a fairly complex futures process, done quite quickly, was able to drive insight and improve our anticipation of the future. In the few days before the window closes: enjoy.


2 Responses

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  1. rohit100 said, on 7 October, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Andrew The link takes you to a paid download – am I missing the link? Regards

    Rohit Talwar

    CEO Fast Future Tel +44 (0)20 8830 0766 Mob +44 (0)7973 405145

    Download the Hotels 2020: Beyond Segmentation Report at Twitter Blog LinkedIn Signup for our newsletters / Download past editions at

    Watch a short video of Rohit at

    • thenextwavefutures said, on 8 October, 2012 at 12:19 pm


      I’m as puzzled as you are. Emerald sent me an email saying that the open links would be live until 10th October, and they were there when I drafted the post on Friday. So someone at Emerald seems to have blundered. I’ve contacted them and asked them to restore them, as per their previous commitment.

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