The standard scenario development workshop we facilitate is two days in length and supports between 20 and 35 people in 3 to five teams. Each team takes one endstate and works with it to develop a plausible scenario that leads to it.
The workshop is divided into these major task blocks:
- Current Expectations. Participants sit down in five teams, read through the 125 events one by one and vote on each one’s likelihood. Each person votes their personal opinion but because they are in a team they can see where their expectations align with their colleagues or not.
- Analyze Endstate. Each team has been assigned one of the endstates. They are asked to defend it as a lawyer would defend a client, in role play style, even if they have objections to it. (The sixth endstate F: The Adirondack Forest is a very negative scenario and the analysis was done by the facilitators). They must decide on the way they wish to interpret and defend it and answer these questions about it:
- What are the 5 – 7 major changes from today that characterize your endstate? Brainstorm a list and then prioritize.
- What are some of the driving forces causing these changes?
- Who are the players that make this endstate happen? Government? NGOs? Private Enterprise? Citizens?
- What are the biggest obstacles that were overcome?
- Does the economy inside the Blue Line grow, shrink or remain the same?
Which sectors grow and which shrink? Which areas of the Park do better and which do worse?
- How has the Park population changed? Does it increase, decline or remain the same? What factors affect population levels? How will the demographic profile change?
- What key metrics should we use to track our progress toward this endstate?
- Select Events. Each team then went through the 125 events again and selected those that helped the development of their endstate or hurt its development. They also wrote additional events needed for their endstate to come about. They then clustered the events into major themes that related to their analysis of the endstate and pared them down to around 40. It was a lot of work to make sense of all the event selections and figure out which ones were really most relevant to the team’s particular endstate. Often they laid out the cards on the floor.
- Team Presentations. On the morning of the second day each team presented its endstate analysis and their path of events that got us there. They then submitted to questions from the rest of the participants. Then each team member was given the opportunity to briefly describe their “true” opinion about the endstate. After all the presentations were given, the participants ranked the endstates in terms of Desirability and Attainability.
- Data Feedback. The results of the two ranking exercises (pre-read and after the presentations) were then presented and compared. Also, the ways in which the events selected by each team intersected was also examined.
- Composite Scenario Development. Participants were then assigned to new teams and asked to look at all the endstates and their event paths and consider how we might create a synthesis or composite that better expresses the opportunities and choices facing the Adirondack Park. Teams then briefly explained their synthesis. The meeting ended with a plenary discussion.