UPDATE: My principal PhD supervisor and I have just published a new paper which reviews and contributes to the distinction between reactive and proactive/’transformative’ forms of scenario planning, which is part of a special issue of the International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy – see: http://www.inderscience.com/info/inarticletoc.php?jcode=ijfip&year=2015&vol=10&issue=2/3/4. The paper focusses on proactive (or ‘transformative’) approaches to scenario planning:
McGrail, S. & Riedy, C. 2015, ‘Creating scenarios or creating and sustaining social worlds? Towards new sociological understandings of the use and impacts of scenario planning’, International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, vol. 10, no. 2/3/4, pp. 103-25.
In the paper we review a case (the CSIRO-led Future Fuels Forum) and relevant theory (social field theory), and draw on these when reconsidering seemingly basic questions such as:
- What is a scenario, and why are they constructed and used?
- What motivates actors to initiate or participate in a scenario planning exercise?
- What social factors and processes influence the impact of scenarios and/or scenario exercises (e.g. the influence of these activities on actors’ agency and related outcomes)?
- From a social action perspective what is the utility or function of a scenario planning exercise?
- How does social context (i.e. in which a scenario planning process is run) influence the utility and perceived relevance of a scenario planning process and the outputs?
If you’re interested in reading the paper and cannot access the published version I can send you a postprint (i.e. a post-peer review near-final draft version of the paper).