Vegas Online Scenario Planning System

Vegas Online Scenario Planning System from Noah Raford on Vimeo.

This is a mock up for a proposed online scenario planning system I have been thinking about as part of my PhD research, tentatively called the “Vega(s) System”.

Why “Vega(s)”, instead of just “Vega” or “Vegas”? Vega is one of brightest stars in the sky and was often used for navigation in the old days. Vegas, as in, Las Vegas, connotes chance and probability with the promise of defying the odds. So for now, the hybrid “Vega(s)” connotes both, even though I’ll probably drop the parentheses later (and as a specialist in sustainable urban planning, I find Las Vegas an utter abomination).

Several excellent attempts have been made to update the traditional scenario planning process to the tools and potentials of the web.  In general these efforts tend to fall into two categories; either those which create virtual meeting rooms on the web, or those which attempt to use the new potentials of the web to produce the same goals as a regular workshop, but using an entirely different format.

The Vegas system falls in the later group.  It attempts to use the organisational potentials of the web to redefine how we conduct futures work and scenario planning exercises, placing an emphasis on large scale participation, crowd sourcing, and “extreme scale” sensemaking.

The proposed system uses more of an inductive than deductive approach, and it doesn’t attempt to imitate the traditional drivers definition, ranking, and 2×2 matrices of classical scenario planning. Instead it tries to use the massively parallel nature of the web to create emergent scenarios and pictures based on user-driven assembly of fragmentary trends, issues and concerns. This is a different approach than that taken in person, and the core of my research will be to test the impact of this on group learning objectives.

This mock-up is still very crude, but I put it online in an attempt to solicit feedback and conversation about future developments.  It has already benefited tremendously from conversations with theorists and practitioners, including Louis van der Merwe, Pam Hurley and Daniel Gronquist.

I look forward to your thoughts and perspectives.

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  1. […] reflects a lot of my early ideas and conversations in this area, which I explore in this mock-up video from a few years ago.  Although it began as a true, wiki-style project, it evolved into something […]

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