Decision Integrity (DIL) is a research and coaching enterprise working on holistic approaches that benefit sustainable systems, projects, communities, organisations and societies with special emphasis on transformative resilience.
In a fluid environment there are many possible futures. It is somewhat like the weather. It may be fine; it may rain; what if it snows? Strategy must now embrace "what if?" questions that go outside the reach of our habitual mindset. This requires us to think with multiple futures. Each what if? question requires a different story of the future; a scenario. Each story will be equally plausible if we can entertain its assumptions. All will challenge the assumptions upon which our default scenario is based. Scenarios are distinctly structured views of the future that are self-consistent and plausible.
Each distinct future is something from which we can learn how to reconcile our mission with the environment. In the face of the unknown there cannot be predetermined answers. Thus strategy ceases to be a fixed plan but rather a learning process that leads to continuous improvement in the alignment of the organisation to its environment. In this way, scenarios are a powerful way of developing a learning organisation.
Constructing these different views of the future is not as easy as it first looks. This is because our view of the future is limited by our mindset. Mindset is the pattern of projected perception we lay on the outside world and sustain through our belief system; this pattern is very hard to change. Our mindset tends to hold us to a default scenario.
To construct scenarios we need a process that helps us to escape the dominant mindset. A wide variety of perspectives must be gathered from outside the confines of the organisation culture as well as from within it. From these perspectives, imagination and logic must be combined to write stories of the future. These stories not only portray images of the future but also a pathway of events through time that could lead us from where we are now to that future world. Underlying this must be an understanding of the driving forces that are likely to be shaping the future. Crucial to the chance that different futures might arise is the idea of "knife-edge criticality", the very small events that trigger vast changes. These turning points are like the switches that route us to one future rather than another. Underlying all this are certain deep structures of forces that determine varieties of behaviour. These deeper structures can be modelled with systems methods to help us see the dynamics of how different end states might come about.
The links below lead to the visual group methodology developed as part of the Metabridge suite. For an extended version of this account click here.