Defining “Scenarios”

The term “scenario” or “scene” is often used in everyday language. In the literature of futurology, however, scenario is an essential construct that can be created in many different ways and for which there are various definitions.

One definition that is suitable for the content and purposes outlined here is the following:

“Narratives of alternative environments in which today’s decisions may be played out. They are not predictions. Nor are they strategies. Instead they are more like hypotheses of different futures specifically designed to highlight the risks and opportunities involved in specific strategic issues ”

Ogilvy & Schwartz, 1998

Experts Spaniol und Rowland (2019) define Scenario in a way that can be checked off.
Scenarios …

❏ …have a temporal property rooted in the future and reference external forces in that context

❏ …should be possible and plausible while taking the proper form of a story or narrative description

❏ …exist in sets that are systematically prepared to coexist as meaningful alternatives to one another.


The importance of scenarios lies primarily in their function as a transdisciplinary medium that combines scientific knowledge production in various fields (e.g. emerging technologies, sustainability, innovation research) and links it with the knowledge bases of political decision-makers (particularly from the administration) (Schaper-Rinkel, 2015)

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