Scenario generation questions ask about future possibilities. They relate to the environment in which we operate and how it might evolve over time. Having answers to these questions helps us to make decisions about the future of our organisation. Scenario generation questions might include: How will technology in our sector develop over the next five years? Or, What threats will we face over the next twelve months?
Questions about the future are cognitively harder to answer than questions about the past or present, because the uncertainties they involve are not just observational: they also include uncertainties about the behaviour of the systems we’re interested in. Even though the process for answering both involves the assessment of currently available information, we nevertheless find it more difficult to consider possible futures than we do to consider events that have already occurred. To overcome this challenge we can use structured creativity methods, such as driver-based scenario generation, to help ensure a broad range of futures are considered in a systematic and unbiased way.
Answering scenario generation questions allows us consider the full range of possible futures; to make judgements about the likelihood of these futures, we need to ask scenario evaluation questions.