Hopes and Dreams: An experiment in crowd sourced scenario planning

Please take 5 minutes to contribute to (and test out) a (very) early beta release of my second prototype system as part of my PhD at MIT:

HOPES AND DREAMS: The Future of Public Service

Click on the link above to share your thoughts and fears, hopes and ideas about the future of public services and urban governance, post-financial crisis.

What is this about?

As the project page says,

“We want your micro-narratives, your thoughts and feelings about the future, your ideas and concerns of what might become.  Please tell us a story about the trends and signals which you think are important, your personal experiences, or what you think will be vital to public service in the future.  It doesn’t have to be long, just a few lines, or it can be much longer if like.”

Scenario planning is a structured method for exploring planning & design strategy under severe uncertainty and dynamic change.  There are lots of ways of doing this, but most rely on expensive consultants and heavy face-to-face involvement .

This is an effort to use the collaborative potential of the web to leverage large amounts of participation for emergent scenario creation. This prototype uses a “narrative capture” approach to data collection and was developed in partnership with Dave Snowden and Wendy Schultz, two specialists in social complexity and strategic foresight. The current experiment is still quite rough, but it works.

What happens next?

After collecting your stories, we will be analysing emerging trends and themes as part of a semi-automated scenario creation process. In the future all of this will be online and community driven.  At the moment this part is all done off-line, so you’ll have to wait a few weeks for the results.

Although this particular exercise relates to mass data capture using distributed, participatory sources, the exciting part of this research relates to the emergent scenario creation which will result.

The goal of the next step therefore is to explore new ways of working with this information to take advantage of the collective intelligence of the web, as opposed to simply recreating traditional face-to-face scenario processes online.  Imagine something like Bruce Sterling’s Correlation Engine, using a million minds as the processor to generate surprising and useful alternative futures around a key topic.

Please distribute, email, Tweet, FB, etc.

Thanks in advance for your participation and feedback.  Please feel free to distribute this email or link to anyone you think would be interested.  If all goes well, I will test the approach in a couple of larger field studies to see if it adds value or produces new insights.

Anyone who participates in this test will get access to the final data and I’ll be sure to share the analysed results as soon as they are complete. I’m also happy to answer questions with more detail if you’d like more details or want to stay involved in the next stage.

One Trackback

  1. By uberVU - social comments on March 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by nraford: New blog post: “Crowdsourced scenario planning experiment” http://bit.ly/cxm46f #crowdsourcing #scenarios #futures…

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