Great! You want to start making future scenarios. In their enthusiasm, many people start searching for all kinds of developments and trends in the external environment right away. However, an important step in a scenario process is often forgotten, namely scoping it correctly. A good scope is crucial for delivering relevant, thought-provoking scenarios. Without determining the scope, there is a good chance that you will not get what you want out of the scenarios. The scenarios will then be like the answer given by the supercomputer “Deep Thought” in the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

In this legendary book, Douglas Adams describes an intergalactic society where the big issues of the past regarding death, war, and health have been solved. Professions have been replaced by technology, and many people have become proficient in the profession of philosopher. For millennia, they have been racking their brains for the answer to the ultimate question of “life, the universe, and everything.” In an attempt to find the answer, they decide to build a computer – Deep Thought – to calculate the answer. After millions of days of calculation, Deep Thought presents the result: 42. This answer leaves the philosophers in bewilderment. Deep Thought explains that the answer is incomprehensible because the philosophers had no idea what question they were actually asking.

The same goes for scenarios. If you don’t ask the right questions that the scenarios should help answer, the scenarios will also not provide the desired insights. A good scope helps you get useful answers. The scope provides a delimitation of the topics that the scenarios should address, as well as how far into the future the scenarios should look.

What does the scope consist of?

The scope consists of four elements:

  1. Core question (and focal points)
  2. Target year
  3. Boundaries
  4. Actors

If you want to learn more about the elements of the scope, download our article for free.

Jeroen Toet is a senior strategist at Jester Jester Foresight. For over 10 years, he has helped organizations in the private and public sector make robust choices for the future using different foresight methods, among which scenario planning.

Question regarding this article? Get in touch with Jeroen: of +31 6 11 45 13 11