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Promoting articulated action from diverse stakeholders in response to public policy scenarios : a case analysis of the use of ‘scenario improvisation’ method

Cairns, George and Wright, George and Fairbrother, Peter (2016) Promoting articulated action from diverse stakeholders in response to public policy scenarios : a case analysis of the use of ‘scenario improvisation’ method. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 103. pp. 97-108. ISSN 0040-1625

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Abstract

In this paper we present a novel application of scenario methods to engage a diverse constituency of senior stakeholders, with limited time availability, in debate to inform planning and policy development. Our case study project explores post-carbon futures for the Latrobe Valley region of the Australian state of Victoria. Our approach involved initial deductive development of two ‘extreme scenarios’ by a multi-disciplinary research team, based upon an extensive research program. Over four workshops with the stakeholder constituency, these initial scenarios were discussed, challenged, refined and expanded through an inductive process, whereby participants took ‘ownership’ of a final set of three scenarios. These were both comfortable and challenging to them. The outcomes of this process subsequently informed public policy development for the region. Whilst this process did not follow a single extant structured, multi-stage scenario approach, neither was it devoid of form. Here, we seek to theorise and codify elements of our process – which we term ‘scenario improvisation’ – such that others may adopt it.