> Resources > Course Syllabi > Intro | Classics | Systems | Methods | Facilitation | Governance | Images | World | Leadership


Summer Residential Intensive Program 2002
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz
Course Description | Assignments: Analyze Scenarios | Write Scenarios | Vision | Strategic Plan | Course Materials

Activity Points
participation 10
homework exercises 10
describe/analyze 3 scenarios 15
write 3 scenarios 30
vision analysis/proposal 20
strategic planning model 15
  Accumulated Points Grade
  92-100 A
  90-91 A-
  80-89 B+
  80-87 B
  78-79 B-
  76-77 C+
  68-75 C


Assignment One
Describe/Analyze 3 "Found" Scenarios

You can explore alternative possible futures using three basic approaches:  collect and analyze scenarios -- images of alternative futures -- that already exist; add detail and expand existent scenarios; or create scenarios yourselves from scratch.

This assignment focusses on the first activity.  Part one is to locate three very different scenarios:  different authors, different subjects, and different processes.  In class we have discussed processes in terms of a continuum from highly logical, rational, and qualitative processes, to extremely intuitive, visionary, and artistic processes:

  • quantitative:  trend forecasts, systems dynamics models;
  • logical forecasting:  cross-impact matrices and scenario parameter matrices;
  • structured narratives:  Royal Dutch Shell and GBN;
  • freeform narratives:  Manoa and Willis Harman;
  • interpretive and metaphorical: causal layered analysis;
  • artistic:  novels, short stories, TV shows, movies, etc.; and
  • prophetic.

Make sure each of your three scenarios represents a DIFFERENT process category.

You will be writing a two page analysis of each scenario, based on the questions we raised in our class discussion.  Begin each analysis by giving a citation for the scenario.  Next, address the questions regarding the author(s) and purpose:

  • who wrote it -- and why?
  • what assumptions did they have?  were those assumptions explicitly expressed?
  • what biases, if any, did the author(s) exhibit?
  • who was the intended  client/audience?
  • what purpose does the scenario serve?
  • how was it expressed?

Finally, analyze the content.  The questions which follow are a guide to analysis, but you may also use the points raised on the attached handouts as you choose and see appropriate.

  • what drove the change this scenario represents?
  • who lost out, or what disappeared?
  • who gets marginalized?
  • what shifts in economic or political power occur?
  • what are human relations in this future, and how have they changed?
  • to what extent does this scenario cover each of the STEEP categories?
  • what are the impacts on everyday life?
  • WHEN is this future?  where on the timeline?
  • what precursors might lead to this?
  • are the trends and assumptions plausible?

The final  product should be about 6-7 pages long.

Worth:  15 points.

Assignment Two
Write 3 Scenarios

You can explore alternative possible futures using three basic approaches:  collect and analyze scenarios -- images of alternative futures -- that already exist; add detail and expand existent scenarios; or create scenarios yourselves from scratch

This assignment focusses on the third activity [the second activity is incasting, an exercise in which you participated during Intro, and which is taught as a group exercise in Facilitation Tools].  First, decide for whom you are writing each of your three scenarios.  In essence, assign yourself three different client businesses, organizations, or agencies.  You may choose an organization which

actually exists out there in the real world, or briefly describe an imaginary organization.  Tell me enough about each “client” so I have some sense what might be key issues  for them.

For each client, write ONE scenario -- if you are using the Schwartz/GBN approach to scenario building, which creates a matrix that produces the logic structure for four different scenarios, then I only want to see the narrative for ONE of those scenarios.  Explain why you choose the scenario approach you did for each client, and use three different scenario construction techniques.

Each scenario should come with an introductory paragraph explaining who the client is and telling the reader a little bit about that client, as well as identifying the scenario approach used, and the future year the scenario describes.  IF you use the GBN technique, attach the matrix; IF you use the Manoa approach, attach the brainstorming notes, cross-impact matrix, or futures wheels.  That is, attach whatever notes you made to yourself as you went through the process.

The scenarios should represent about two pages, single spaced, of detail and narrative.  However, they should also exemplify three different approaches to presenting scenarios to readers.  One may be a story, one should utilize graphic presentation of some sort, and the third presentation approach is up to you.

Bear in mind the points we raised in class discussions about analyzing scenarios, and the handouts suggesting what questions you should raise when reading scenarios.  Assume that I will be raising those questions as I read your scenarios, and create them accordingly.

The final  product should be about 7-8 pages long, plus rough notes.

Worth:  30 points.

Assignment Three
Vision Analysis/Proposal

An example of an existing vision statement for an organization in one of your cognate domains, and your choice of a vision approach for a sample client  in that domain which might produce a better vision:

The vision assignment has two parts:  first, locate an example of a vision statement -- these are often imbedded within business plans, strategic plans, or community plans -- for an organization, business, or community in which you are interested:  preferably one within one of your cognate domains.

Analyze that vision using the analytic criteria we developed in class, that is:

  • what kind of organization/community is it for?
  • who wrote it?
  • what approach did they use, if any?
  • time horizon, if mentioned;
  • STEEP category coverage;
  • creativity;
  • specificity;
  • degree of idealism/nobility/transformational spirit;
  • achievable? and
  • other criteria from your notes...

Considering the context in which the organization or community functions, suggest a method for writing a more complete, more transformational vision statement.  Choose from among the methods we reviewed in class -- or combine salient features of more than one method -- and defend your design choice.  Suggest a draft “agenda” for the process:  a two-day retreat?  a weekly series of luncheon meetings?  focus groups over several months tapping the ideas of employees or participants from various subdivisions of the organization?  Why is the schedule you have chosen appropriate?

The final  product should be about 7-8 pages long, including “agenda”.

Worth:  20 points.

Assignment Four
Strategic Planning Model

A strategic planning model to achieve a specific vision, with an approach to implement the plan:

This final assignment in the two semester methods sequence asks that you draw upon the resources, tools, discussions, and ideas of both semesters' classes in designing an original approach to strategic planning for a specific client.  The assignment has four basic component activities:

First, choose an imaginary client from the real world around you -- it would be best to choose an organization, agency, or community with which you are fairly familiar.

Second, if you know your client's long-range vision, state it; if you do not know their vision -- or if they lack a vision statement -- draft one for them, expressed in one paragraph.

Third, given what you know about your imaginary client, and the range of models and approaches to strategic planning that we have discussed and reviewed in class, design a strategic planning process suitable for your specific client and their vision.  Be sure you address how you will integrate both specific quantitative, logical, critical thinking tools chosen from methods one in your planning process design, as well as qualitative, creative, synthetic tools chosen from methods two.  That is, what tools from futures studies would be most appropriate given the strategic planning process you are individually tailoring for your specific client and their vision?

The final  product should be about 7-8 pages long.

Worth:  15 points.

(Back to top.)

> Resources > Course Syllabi > Intro | Classics | Systems | Methods | Facilitation | Governance | Images | World | Leadership

15 February 2003. Email IF.
Copyright © 2003, Wendy L. Schultz
All rights reserved.
Since 1/15/2003, over [an error occurred while processing this directive]
people have explored our infinite futures.

(in addition to the 17,500+ visitors from 10/1/2001-12/15/2002).