Scenarios are stories that explore how the world might look taking into account the evolution of certain trends. They are:
- Alternative stories about the future - not forecasts, predictions or projections;
- Two, three or more plausible, relevant and challenging versions of the future;
- They provide a framework for thinking about the different ways in which the future might unfold from the present and how we might shape that future.
The process of developing scenarios requires consideration of a range of possible futures which prepares those involved to look beyond their normal frames of vision. Scenarios encourage exploration of what might happen. They are constructed to explore ‘What if?’ rather than ‘Whether’. Scenarios are built upon combinations of identified drivers of the external environment. These are derived from what stays with us from the past and what we see as heading towards us from the future that may impact upon us for good or ill.
Scenario work enables understanding of the external context or environment which any organisation inhabits to be prepared for what transpires. To capitalise fully on that understanding it needs to be augmented with an exploration of the whole internal system of the organisation. Factors such as culture, ownership, service requirements, timeframes, human and financial resources and many others are all interdependent. Our scenarios and their application were developed following detailed and comprehensive consultation with employers and stakeholders in the UK's justice sector.