Scenario Network Mapping

by Dennis List


This paper describes a new approach to scenario planning, known as scenario network mapping (SNM for short). The method, developed by the author in his doctoral thesis work, is contrasted with three more standard types of scenario planning. SNM differs from the conventional methods in using many more scenarios, each forming part of a particular pathway of possible events. In SNM, the focus is more on the network-like structure than on the scenarios themselves. The resulting network is easily modified as history unfolds; scenarios can be repositioned in the structure, new scenarios added, and irrelevant ones removed. The method lends itself to a highly participative development approach: the more actor groups participate in the construction of the scenarios, the more comprehensive the structure is likely to be. A case study of the current war in Iraq demonstrates the method in action.

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