Thinking together about the future when you are not together: The effectiveness of using developed scenarios among geographically distributed groups

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Journal Article
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2018, 133 pp. 206 - 219
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Scenarios have been effectively used over the years to trigger and accelerate learning, to stretch the mental models of managers, and as a tool for helping executives to develop strategies in the face of uncertainty. However, the scenario literature frequently assumes a high degree of continuity between the scenario-building process and the use of the resulting scenarios in strategy development, and that the participants throughout these processes will be in the same geographic location. As part of a research project exploring the future of transportation in the Asia-Pacific region, we examine the use of previously developed scenarios by transport experts to re-imagine the future of transportation in the region. Our approach involved delivering scenarios online to enable the participation of various stakeholders in the region who were geographically dispersed. The results show that the developed scenarios contributed to individual learning that, in turn, led to a change in mental models. The results also demonstrate that scenario-related processes can be conducted online to be more cost-effective, flexible, and less constrained by geographic barriers. In doing so, this paper usefully extends both the theoretical and practical dimensions of this topic by exploring an alternative approach for large participation in scenario-related processes in the public domain.
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