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Future Scenario

Field of application

The workshop model can be applied when

  • Working with students on the development of #strategies in which #future scenarios can increase the #imagination of several potential future in difference to one vision. It could be used for their own career choice, for their business models etc.
  • Working with organisations on their future orientation and #reflection on possible future scenarios that have to been taken into consideration
  • #Reflection with students and professors on how to make sure that e.g. business models, university courses, organisations are preparing themselves for the future and overcome just a traditional strategic planning-oriented vision.

Resume / Brief description


The workshop on future scenarios is oriented towards defining different scenarios how the future may evolve under different circumstances. Different possible future scenarios will be developed from the perspective of an organization, a university offer, a territory or a business model. It can be applied to each area which is related with strategy development. The future scenario workshop identifies with the group of specific stakeholders’ critical uncertainties for future development and based on that defines four possible scenarios. The scenarios are assessed according to their possible implications for a business, a sector, an organization or e.g. a territory. The purpose of the future scenario

writing is to become aware and prioritize possible activities according to the different scenarios that might emerge.

Target group

(including group size)

Larger group of students, organisational representatives, or CEOs and management and employees (beyond 10 persons) that want to learn or reflect how to design a variety of future visions to act with a higher sensitivity in the process.


  • The target group understands that there is more than one possible and plausible future
  • Thinking outside the box when dealing with strategic issues and the solutions are unclear
  • to develop early warning indicators
  • helping to choose options that are robust under different circumstances
  • creating reference points for discussion and planning
  • to generate a joint and long-term vision and ultimately a strategy in a locality, business or organisation






·   Pin board (virtual or real)

·   Cards, markers


Time: at least 90 min. up to a complete day (depending on the intensity and depth

Implementation - Overview

The methodology is realized in three main organisational steps. 


Implementation - Guidelines





Before the start of the scenario writing, it requires that the facilitator and the participants define well the topic on which the scenarios should be written. This can be e.g. with students on their business model they have to develop in their studies, on the university who offers a certain Master or bachelor’s degree and that wants to reflect on the future direction of their product.


I.                  SETTING THE SCOPE


1.1.  Identification of key certain future factors

  • The participants are introduced to the future scenario writing exercise, its objectives and perspectives
  • The logic is transferred that there is more than one possible future that has to been taken into consideration for future strategy design. The difference between a traditional trend scenario and other possible scenarios has to been explained (see figure below) 



  • Rules of the game: The session starts with a reflection of future factors that are given and that are certain. For that the facilitator asks the participants to write cards on the following question: What are the factors related to the topic that are given and certain, and that will guide the behavior of people and the evolution of things in the future? This includes not only laws and policies, but also megatrends such as e.g. globalisation, digitalisation trends, an accelerating process of technological innovation, etc..  
  • Cards are pinned on the pin board and clustered (same cards together in one cluster.


1.2.  Identification of key uncertainties

  • The facilitator asks the participants to write cards on the following question: What are the factors that will impact on your focal area and where we are not sure how they will evolve in the future?
  • Cards are pinned on the pin board and clustered (same cards together in one cluster)




2.1.  Creation of four-field-matrix

  • Participants prioritise the cards on the pin board with key uncertainties according to (a) possible impact and (b) likelihood of occurrence. For that they discuss first the cards and then vote e.g. with dots or different coloured markers on the cards to identify the factor with the highest possible impact and the factor with the highest likelihood of occurrence
  • The group then agrees on the two factors that score highest on each area and finds two opposing expressions for them. This is then the basis of a matrix that, might look like this (example from tourism).

image-1618242929718.pngSource: Example from GIZ/Mesopartner Genesis Manual, p. 39.


2.2.  Check scenarios and compare them

  • Participants look at the scenarios and verify again: Are these the ones with the highest impact and the most probable occurrence?
  • Facilitators lead to the four scenarios without judging them. They all might have positive elements on the future of the specific business or organisation, just under different factor conditions.




3.1.  Writing scenarios

Participants create four working groups. Each of them elaborates one scenario. The scenario is supposed to be a story e.g. ten years from now. This encourages a creative thinking process where participants do not extrapolate from the present into the future but rather put themselves into the future and trace back how they got there. Participants are encouraged to come up with a creative title for their scenario.

·   The instruction for each working group are as follows

·   Put yourself into the perspective of a future year and look back into the past

·   Develop strings of causally linked events that might have happened

·   A useful approach is to identify events as a series of dated newspaper headlines

·   Weave the process together in the form of a narrative

·   Develop a short description of the scenario; visualize your description

·   Find an appropriate, preferably catchy, title.


3.2. Presenting scenarios

·   Each group is presenting the scenario to the others and each groups puts questions to the other

    group to encourage deeper reflection.

·   Groups can add headlines and titles to concretize their story.


3.3. Final consideration/reflection

·   The participants look at the complete matrix and all the scenarios and reflects on the question:

     How can we anticipate future trends? What are indicators, like an alert system, that provide us

     with first signs of information?

·   The second reflection goes around the following question: What can we do now to prepare us for

    the future with its different possible scenarios? What are opportunities of action in the short- and

    medium term?

Templates, Graphics for download

Scenario writing, by Mesopartner

Additional format/references


Regional Foresight and Scenario Method:


Genesis Manual including scenario writing process: