The value of mass-produced Covid-19 scenarios : a quality evaluation of development processes and scenario content

Crawford, Megan M. and Wright, George (2022) The value of mass-produced Covid-19 scenarios : a quality evaluation of development processes and scenario content. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 183. 121937. ISSN 0040-1625 (

[thumbnail of Crawford-Wright-TFSC-2022-The-value-of-mass-produced-Covid-19-scenarios-a-quality-evaluation-of-development-processes]
Text. Filename: Crawford_Wright_TFSC_2022_The_value_of_mass_produced_Covid_19_scenarios_a_quality_evaluation_of_development_processes.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 logo

Download (932kB)| Preview
[thumbnail of Crawford-Wright-TFSC-2022-The-value-of-mass-produced-Covid-19-scenarios-a-quality-evaluation-of-development]
Text. Filename: Crawford_Wright_TFSC_2022_The_value_of_mass_produced_Covid_19_scenarios_a_quality_evaluation_of_development.pdf
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 logo

Download (682kB)| Preview


Hundreds of scenarios were developed across the world in 2020, aimed at generating forward-looking conversations, better understanding for COVID-19 transmission rates, trialling economic outcomes, and stress-testing existing systems in light of the developing pandemic. In response, Cairns & Wright (2020) questioned the value of these mass-produced scenarios created retroactively to existing crises. We address their concerns by evaluating 213 COVID-19 scenarios developed in the first wave of the pandemic. We use two yardsticks as guiding maps against which we plot each scenario’s profile and test for values of high-quality process and content. Our analyses reveal various points of high and low qualities, in both process and content. Though most reported processes fell towards lower quality standards, and content largely carried generic applications, the prolific levels of exploratory narratives reflected a mixture of high and low-quality values. Together, our papers develop and reinforce the message that scenario interventions, especially in times of crisis, should reflect more proactive efforts and ensure powerful stakeholders, decision-makers, and affected community members are included in the development of scenarios.