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Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios?

Wright, George and Bradfield, Ronald and Cairns, George (2013) Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios? Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 80 (4). pp. 631-642. ISSN 0040-1625

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Abstract

In this paper, we synthesize the extant literature to establish the common objectives of scenario interventions within organizations and contextualize the well-established, but basic, “intuitive logics” scenario development methodology. We next consider if the basic intuitive logics method achieves these objectives. Then, we consider recent augmentations of the intuitive logics method and evaluate whether these augmentations enhance the basic method's capabilities. We find that there is a strong case for arguing that these scenario methods are designed to address two of the three objectives that we identified from the literature, namely: (i) enhancing understanding: of the causal processes, connections and logical sequences underlying events — thus uncovering how a future state of the world may unfold, and (ii) challenging conventional thinking in order to reframe perceptions and change the mindsets of those within organizations. However, other than in the augmentation in which multi-attribute value analysis is applied, none of the recent developments that we detail address directly the third objective that we distil from the literature: (iii) improving decision making: to inform strategy development. On this basis, we conclude that the ubiquitous term “scenario planning” is a misnomer and propose that other “scenario” terminologies might usefully be adopted that more precisely indicate the process and objectives of scenario interventions.