Comparing visions via scenario development
(Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
Combining systems and design thinking in participatory scenario and vision development.
Paper long abstract:
Defined as a package of future focused, science-based, value laden and policy oriented ideas which are captivated in a coherent overarching framework, visions can be considered as synonyms of paradigms. Forming the highest leverage points for intervention in a societal system (Meadows 2008), they are subjects of high stake public debates. Scenarios provide rational frameworks for thinking about and mapping out various visions and possible futures. Though it breaks with modernity’s outdated idea of a manageable society, such frameworks do offer us the opportunity to make rational choices by showing us the condition space that define the possible scenarios, thus enabling us to choose the preferred future we want to go for. Using scenarios to depict visions of various possible futures enables us to compare political viewpoints and their varying underlying assumptions, and use it as input for well-informed and balanced public debates. In my paper presentation, I’d like to explain how this approach enables us to sketch the various possible futures of human kind on planet Earth, as these are envisioned by renown scientists and world leaders, and how this can help to inform and engage the public in debates about desirable futures. I can also explain how we have worked out this approach in the curriculum of our Future Planet Studies programme, to teach bachelor students how to engage with visions, and ultimately learn to develop visions on sustainable futures themselves, where possible in participatory processes with public involvement.
The public imagination of the future