As noted, my former colleagues at NCRI created a form of scenario planning called Future Mapping that improved upon scenario processes pioneered in the business world by Royal Dutch Shell. I was the founder of a series of public workshops on the the Future of Information Commerce that were held in the early 1990s. After my departure for Silicon Valley, my former colleagues continued the workshop. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I've been reviewing selected results from a 1997 edition of the workshop. The full original report is here; a presentation (PDF) on the Scenario Mapping(tm) process is here.
Public workshop participants are asked to rank the Endstates in terms of Desirability and Attainability. Each person is assigned to a team which analyzes their assigned Endstate and then delivers a 15-20 minute presentation that explains how the world got to be that way. Following all the team presentations, participants are asked to re-rank the Endstates.
The Endstates for Information Commerce were titled by their respective teams as (see the report for detailed descriptions):
- Scenario A: Flowering of Distribution
- Scenario B: Service-Enhanced Content
- Scenario C: Profusion of Multimedia
- Scenario D: Broadcast Culture Persists
Seldom are the pre- and post-presentation rankings the same. Beliefs change because participants are exposed to a very broad range of information and rationales.
One of the consistencies we have observed over more than 100+ public and private workshops is that what is thought to be the most Desirable outcome for the industry or company is also perceived to be the least Attainable and vice versa.
While there is some resorting on Desirability, the largest changes in this workshop concern Attainability, almost certainly because the Event analyses and Endstate "defense" presentations helped clarify the ease and difficulty of the alternative paths and outcomes.