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Rapid Future Assessment

This approach is flexible and adaptable, intended to spark and then sustain debate. It is a very pragmatic approach, taking as a starting point the observation that the desired data are never available, but that the issues are pressing and analysis must proceed. It then goes on to point out that a great deal can be learned from the existing data, so it is worthwhile to start the process.

Another pragmatic feature of this approach is that scenario narratives are created by a stakeholder group and the client in reaction to a provisional scenario proposed by a scenario team. This follows from the common experience that people who are not scenario experts have difficulty talking about the future “in a vacuum,” but can easily discuss the future if a concrete example is in front of them.

Note that there is no official presentation of this approach. It is based on presentations by representatives of the Global Scenario Group and of the PoleStar Project.



  1. In consultation with the scenario team, the client specifies the boundaries of the analysis and provides an initial list of indicators the analysis should produce.
  2. In consultation with the client, the scenario team proposes a list of data requirements.
  3. The client provides a list of resources that the scenario team should take into account in its initial analysis.
  4. The scenario team generates a “zero-order” scenario with its associated indicators and storyline.
  5. The stakeholder group and the client discuss the initial scenario, proposing modifications and extensions and identifying data gaps.
  6. The scenario group refines the analysis, taking the comments of the stakeholder group and the client into account.
  7. Steps 5 and 6 are repeated until an acceptable set of scenarios is achieved. These generally include one or two forecasts and one or two backcasts.
  8. The draft scenarios are distributed for general review.
  9. The scenario team and client revise the scenarios based on results of the general review (perhaps with the further contribution from the stakeholder group).
  10. The final scenarios are published and distributed.