Scenarios are plausible stories about the future. They are stories that are real enough - that is, sufficiently based on the trends and changes that we see happening now - to mean that they not only could possibly happen, but could plausibly happen.
Scenarios are not goals and they are not visions of what the future should look like. Nor are they forecasts or predictions about how we think the future will look. Scenarios are stories - plausible stories that enable us to explore ways that the future may turn out.
The key benefit of scenarios is the strategic thinking that is required to develop them. They help engage people in strategic conversation. The objective is not to be 100% exact about the future, but to have conversations that will help us make better decisions about the future, today.
Scenarios can allow analysis of changes in direction, shifts in the environment, new perspectives and can enable insights which can then be used as a catalyst for policy development and action. They are a useful tool in developing robust policy and strategy.
Scenarios can be used to:
Four alternative scenarios were developed for the Waikato Region. A series of workshops were held with stakeholders in the Waikato as part of the process to develop the scenarios. The Waikato Scenarios have been built in four quadrants represented by how natural capital is managed (horizontal axis) and how wealth is measured (vertical axis).