Joseph Coates is a famous and well-respected futurist, known for his high standards
and careful analysis. As part of a special issue of Technological Forecasting and
Social Change on scenarios, Coates presented a paper on scenario
methodology . He describes a procedure that he
says he and his team use as the equivalent of a sketch,
meant to be used as an illustration, much like a cartoon or diagram. His
steps are summarized below.
Unspecified/flexible, but the author refers to a team, presumably of
Identify and define the universe of concern that you are dealing with (including
the time period over which the scenarios extend).
Define the variables that will be important in shaping that future. From 6-18 or 20
variables can enter into preparing complex scenarios. Identify the
variables but do not supply values for them. Arrange and rearrange them in a hierarchy
until you are satisfied with the relationships.
Identify the themes for the scenarios.
Create the scenarios, in (usually) two stages:
Write the scenarios. Use any literary format: speech, news article, letter, memo,
trip report, transcript, and so on.
Have the team come together for reading, review and evaluation. Are the scenarios
interesting? Well written? Are there incompatibilities? Have all the points been made?
Can a point be made more incisively?
Optional step: Have one person go through all the agreed on scenarios to get them
into a uniform style.
 Coates, Joseph S. 2000. Scenario Planning, Technological Forecasting and
Social Change, 65, 115-123.