As some readers know, the Big Island of Hawai'i is at the top of my favorite places list.
Vision Foresight Strategy, a strategy consultancy based in Hawaii, has developed four scenarios for the future of that state that apparently will inform a 2-day conference this fall, the Hawai'i Futures Summit: Shaping Change.
While change on the level showcased in these scenarios happens because of many different trends and events in society, using one sector to frame each scenario allows us to consider a particular angle or ‘take’ on those factors that shape Hawai‘i’s futures. Despite this framing, factors from many areas, and from different levels, were taken into account when we created the scenarios. It is important to remember that these scenarios are not predictions, but rather exercises in exploring how and why Hawai‘i may change.
Each scenario stresses a different sector: Social, Economic, Environmental, and Political.
- “Cultural Fragmentation” (Social): The myth of the melting pot is exposed.
- “Towers of Tomorrow” (Economic) Population growth and urbanization reshape Hawai‘i.
- “Rising Tides” (Environmental) Accelerated symptoms of climate change drive Hawai‘i.
- “Launching Point” (Political) Hawai‘i as the forward base in the era of American Engagement.
Here's one, Cultural Fragmentation:
The global trend of nationalism takes root in Hawai‘i, where, thanks in part to technological change and shifting intellectual currents, various ‘cultural’, identity, and socio-economic groups feel less and less affinity to ‘society’ at large and increasingly withdraw from the State and from each other in order to preserve their own sense of uniqueness and to govern their own affairs. A pervasive politics of exclusivity and balkanization generate ‘enclaves’ or inwardly focused groups intent on the needs of their own members. For Hawai‘i at large, there is little social unity and common ground left, no lingering sense of a shared ‘localness.’ But the new responsibility that groups take for the well-being of their own members leads to some impressive improvements in the social and economic indicators within these exclusive and disconnected enclaves.
Certainly plausible. However, in my view, this effort fails to distinguish clearly between outcomes, major milestones, and the actual scenarios. We refer to outcomes as Endstates, which are short (one or two pages) yet multidimensional descriptions of divergent future conditions or system states. We call the major milestones, Events. Think of Events as newspaper headlines.
A scenario is not a list of Events. Rather, a scenario is a story, a narrative, that describes how the system (market, business, nation, state, issue, etc.) evolved to the Endstate. Scenarios have actors, motives, plots, actions, etc. These stories may reference selected Events, but they are not Event lists.