In summary, from the debrief session about the future_fabulators_legacy and fear with Tina, Valentina, Tim, Istvan, Alberto, Rarita, Sarah, Nik & Maja.

Most people (except Istvan) found the process rich, intriguing and relevant, albeit very intensive. Having the scenario session at the beginning of a kick-off meeting of a European Project meant that the otherwise tedious administrative details were dealt with more playfully. The participants were more engaged in creative conversations than in conventional meetings and felt quickly connected to each other as a tightly knit community. We got to know how we work under pressure, what our assumptions are about the world we live in, what we think about the future of our project etc.

Suggestions for improvements

The biggest issue remains how to narrow things down to a few critical uncertainties without loosing the richness of collected internal and external change drivers.

Specific steps/methods:

  • Spend more time on clarifying the question, or use a focal issue instead (especially for ranking critical uncertainties)?
  • Cluster internal and external drivers before choosing and ranking critical uncertainties
  • Being able to choose only three drivers felt like too few (could clustering beforehand help this issue?). We used 3 red dots per person to select the most important drivers, based on the participant's 'gut feeling'. Suggestion: have a common pool of dots and invite participants to take what they need, while being aware that others need some too.
  • Ranking 'uncertainty is confusing: either keep repeating the question “how uncertain is xxx when we think of fear in 2033?” or rank likelihood or certainty instead of uncertainty
  • How to rank without numbering (prioritising, relative positioning, consensus…)?
  • Using a 'diamond' graph to see the scenario axes emerge visually helped, but it should be bigger, with drivers being named, rather than numbered
  • For translating scenarios into backstories/story-worlds needs much more time and guidance/tools are needed (such as 'a day in the life of'; or imagine yourself in this scenario; or the usual backstory creation steps (world, inhabitants, actions, plot…)
  • When scenario planning is used for future forecasting purposes, the next step of the process should include a personal commitment to the future in terms of actions
  • At the end of the session, there needs to be at least 1/2 hour to 1 hour of summarising and reflecting (have we sufficiently addressed the focal question, what did we miss…). Reflection/debrief about the process worked well when done the next day.

Flow and dynamics:

  • Plan for a longer duration (for creating story worlds at least 2 days)
  • Two instead of one facilitator to host the session (one to moderate the flow, the other to harvest and summarise the content)
  • More physical movement and change of perspective can be beneficial (wall, floor, inside, outside…)
  • It might be useful to get improv experts to work on getting the group to work more on “yes and” rather than “yes but”
  • The process shouldn't be derailed while it is unfolding, for the sake of group dynamics, timing and concentration. Divert the process suggestions until the debrief (which should be seen as an essential part of the process)
  • The issue of divided attention and unrelated communication due to internet use remains problematic - it continues to result in off-topic remarks and conversations breakers, which in an intense meeting disrupts conversations and flow. Perhaps clearer instructions about time and place for external communication and unrelated work would help (before 10h and after 17h wasn't enough).
  • Computer is useful for note taking and on-topic browsing, but it's difficult for the facilitator and participants to know what is going on. Using tablets rather than laptops might be visually less disruptive and the content could be more easily shared. Tangible and heads-up interfaces or a large shared desktop (like Reactable for example could be interesting to explore.
  • future_fabulators/scenario_design_debrief_20131013.txt
  • Last modified: 2014-02-06 07:55
  • by maja