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RE: [cp] Visioning...

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  • Jennings, Warren J
    Hi Steve, One approach that I ve found useful (both in workshops and outside) is to ask either individuals or groups to construct a story about an interaction
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 30, 2005
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      Hi Steve,

      One approach that I've found useful (both in workshops and outside) is
      to ask either individuals or groups to construct a story about an
      interaction with the system/process/etc. being developed. Some rules:

      - It has to be told from the perspective of an individual "user" of the
      system/process/etc.
      - It can't be bullet points, a feature list or anything like that - it
      has to be a genuine story.
      - It does not have to be practical (though in an engineering culture
      like the one I'm working in, most of them will be)

      It's then pretty easy to cluster out key themes, features, etc. and then
      start to think about how far you can go with implementing them.

      In fact, I've used this an engagement tool as well. For instance on a
      recent infrastructure project, after the design group had done some
      visioning we launched a company wide competition asking people to write
      similar stories of their own (prize was just some shopping vouchers).
      End results:

      - quite a number of people beyond the team became engaged and
      enthusiastic about the project
      - the project team got some useful extra ideas about features to
      implement
      - the project team also got some interesting new perspectives on
      features they had already decided to implement
      - the design ended up with a strong user focus (since the stories are
      all told from the user perspective)

      I think that this approach has worked for a couple of reasons. Firstly
      people learned from childhood that they have "permission" to engage
      their imagination when writing stories so some of the barriers to
      imagination that corporate life normally enforces are down. And secondly
      narrative is a very "high bandwidth" communication channel. People can
      convey a very rich picture quite economically through story.

      Cheers & hope this helps

      Warren Jennings
      Telstra Research Laboratories
      Melbourne, Australia

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Steve Song [mailto:ssong@...]
      > Sent: Thursday, 31 March 2005 6:49 AM
      > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [cp] Visioning...
      >
      >
      > Greetings,
      >
      > I am not 100% sure this is the right place to ask this
      > question but it is the closest I can think of. I hope
      > someone can point me in the right direction. I would like to
      > take a group of about 15 people through a visioning exercise.
      > I have a day that I can devote to this. It is a group of
      > experienced practitioners in the field of information and
      > communication technologies in Africa. I want their help to
      > explore some scenarios for the future as an aid to strategic
      > planning for our program. Can anyone point me at some
      > resources that can help me do this? I am a reasonably
      > experienced facilitator but have never done much in the way
      > of scenario-based planning or visioning. Am I being naive?
      > Should I rather hire an experienced practitioner?
      >
      > Thanks in advance.... Steve
      >
      > --
      > Steve Song <ssong@...>
      > Manager ICT4D Africa Programs
      > http://www.connectivityafrica.org
      > http://www.idrc.ca/acacia
      > International Development Research Centre Tel. +1 613 236
      > 6163 x2268 Mobile: +1 613 799 1152 Email to SMS address:
      > 16137991152@...
      >
      >
      >
      > *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Roy Greenhalgh
      Steve An interesting note. What are you doing exactly .. visioning or creating scenarios? They are different. Visioning is usually a definition of what you
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 30, 2005
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        Steve

        An interesting note.

        What are you doing exactly .. visioning or creating scenarios? They are
        different.

        Visioning is usually a definition of what you are definitely going to do,
        the outcome being a "Vision statement". Scenarios are plausible options
        that could be got to, by design very, very different, and none of which may
        be what you end up following! Scenarios require that you define the broad
        and very high level rules that will apply in the future, e.g. oil price will
        rise by a factor of 10 in 5 year's time. They also require really "off the
        wall" thinking.

        There are two books I use.

        "Scenario Planning" by Lindgren and Bandhold, ISBN 0-333-99317-9. Both
        authors are very experienced scenario planners in Scandinavia.

        The other is "Scenarios in Public Policy" by Gill Ringland, ISBN
        0-470-84383-7. Gill is ex ICL/Fujitsu.

        You ask about d-i-y or buy in. If you have funds, buy in and learn as you
        watch/participate.

        Lindgren and Bandhold do provide worked extensive methods.

        Best wishes ...


        Roy Greenhalgh

        Steve Song wrote:

        > Greetings,
        >
        > I am not 100% sure this is the right place to ask this question but it
        > is the closest I can think of. I hope someone can point me in the right
        > direction. I would like to take a group of about 15 people through a
        > visioning exercise. I have a day that I can devote to this. It is a
        > group of experienced practitioners in the field of information and
        > communication technologies in Africa. I want their help to explore some
        > scenarios for the future as an aid to strategic planning for our
        > program. Can anyone point me at some resources that can help me do
        > this? I am a reasonably experienced facilitator but have never done
        > much in the way of scenario-based planning or visioning. Am I being
        > naive? Should I rather hire an experienced practitioner?
        >
        > Thanks in advance.... Steve
        >
        > --
        > Steve Song <ssong@...>
        > Manager ICT4D Africa Programs
        > http://www.connectivityafrica.org
        > http://www.idrc.ca/acacia
        > International Development Research Centre
        > Tel. +1 613 236 6163 x2268 Mobile: +1 613 799 1152
        > Email to SMS address: 16137991152@...
        >
        > *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Steve Song
        Hi Roy, First let me say Thank You! to you and Nancy, Warren, Peter and Seth. It is easy to forget how instantly validating it is get help from within a CoP.
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 31, 2005
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          Hi Roy,

          First let me say Thank You! to you and Nancy, Warren, Peter and Seth.
          It is easy to forget how instantly validating it is get help from within
          a CoP. It has quite made my morning. :-)

          You're right. I was half-aware that I was mushing the two concepts
          together but I was thinking of "vision" in terms of alternate visions of
          the future. So, I fall more into the scenario planning camp. I
          definitely want to get people to step out of themselves and think
          creatively about possible futures and how their investments might
          contribute strategically to one future or another.

          Thanks very much for the references and the advice.

          Best regards... Steve

          On Thu, 2005-31-03 at 08:51 +0100, Roy Greenhalgh wrote:
          > Steve
          >
          > An interesting note.
          >
          > What are you doing exactly .. visioning or creating scenarios? They are
          > different.
          >
          > Visioning is usually a definition of what you are definitely going to do,
          > the outcome being a "Vision statement". Scenarios are plausible options
          > that could be got to, by design very, very different, and none of which may
          > be what you end up following! Scenarios require that you define the broad
          > and very high level rules that will apply in the future, e.g. oil price will
          > rise by a factor of 10 in 5 year's time. They also require really "off the
          > wall" thinking.
          >
          > There are two books I use.
          >
          > "Scenario Planning" by Lindgren and Bandhold, ISBN 0-333-99317-9. Both
          > authors are very experienced scenario planners in Scandinavia.
          >
          > The other is "Scenarios in Public Policy" by Gill Ringland, ISBN
          > 0-470-84383-7. Gill is ex ICL/Fujitsu.
          >
          > You ask about d-i-y or buy in. If you have funds, buy in and learn as you
          > watch/participate.
          >
          > Lindgren and Bandhold do provide worked extensive methods.
          >
          > Best wishes ...
          >
          >
          > Roy Greenhalgh
          >
          > Steve Song wrote:
          >
          > > Greetings,
          > >
          > > I am not 100% sure this is the right place to ask this question but it
          > > is the closest I can think of. I hope someone can point me in the right
          > > direction. I would like to take a group of about 15 people through a
          > > visioning exercise. I have a day that I can devote to this. It is a
          > > group of experienced practitioners in the field of information and
          > > communication technologies in Africa. I want their help to explore some
          > > scenarios for the future as an aid to strategic planning for our
          > > program. Can anyone point me at some resources that can help me do
          > > this? I am a reasonably experienced facilitator but have never done
          > > much in the way of scenario-based planning or visioning. Am I being
          > > naive? Should I rather hire an experienced practitioner?
          > >
          > > Thanks in advance.... Steve
          > >
          > > --
          > > Steve Song <ssong@...>
          > > Manager ICT4D Africa Programs
          > > http://www.connectivityafrica.org
          > > http://www.idrc.ca/acacia
          > > International Development Research Centre
          > > Tel. +1 613 236 6163 x2268 Mobile: +1 613 799 1152
          > > Email to SMS address: 16137991152@...
          > >
          > > *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > *-- The email forum on communities of practice --*
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • John D. Smith
          Wait a minute, Steve! We re not done, are we? I d like to know more about the situation. Is this a community itself? Are you thinking that the visioning /
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 31, 2005
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            Wait a minute, Steve!

            We're not done, are we?

            I'd like to know more about the situation. Is this a community itself? Are
            you thinking that the visioning / scenario planning process be a resource
            for the community and its future conversations? If so, is there a way to
            "sample the fringe" as you gather people together? I'm thinking of people
            who are connected to the group (what they say will make sense, possibly with
            effort) but are not so close in that they are trapped in some kind of "party
            line."

            John
            *
            * John D. Smith - John.Smith@... V: 503.963.8229
            * A new report on Technologies for Communities is on its way.
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            -----Original Message-----
            From: Steve Song [mailto:ssong@...]
            Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2005 7:50 AM
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [cp] Visioning...

            Hi Roy,

            First let me say Thank You! to you and Nancy, Warren, Peter and Seth.
            It is easy to forget how instantly validating it is get help from within
            a CoP. It has quite made my morning. :-)
            <snip>
          • Steve Song
            Hi John, ... By no means :-) I do have a mass of resources to digest now though. ... No, strictly speaking this is not a community. The initiative which I
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 31, 2005
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              Hi John,

              On Thu, 2005-31-03 at 08:51 -0800, John D. Smith wrote:
              > Wait a minute, Steve!
              >
              > We're not done, are we?

              By no means :-) I do have a mass of resources to digest now though.

              > I'd like to know more about the situation. Is this a community itself? Are
              > you thinking that the visioning / scenario planning process be a resource
              > for the community and its future conversations?

              No, strictly speaking this is not a community. The initiative which I
              manage (which funds Information and Communication Technologies [ICTs]
              for development work in Africa) meets jointly once a year with a similar
              initiative from the UK to present our/their activities to an African
              advisory group. The advisory group is made up of experts from various
              sectors, from all over the continent. This year, with the end in sight
              in the next 18 months of this phase of our programming, we'd like the
              program teams and the advisory group to collectively start thinking
              creatively about the future/next phase with a view to trying to better
              understand the rapidly changing landscape of ICTs in Africa and how best
              to invest/intervene.

              > If so, is there a way to
              > "sample the fringe" as you gather people together? I'm thinking of people
              > who are connected to the group (what they say will make sense, possibly with
              > effort) but are not so close in that they are trapped in some kind of "party
              > line."

              There is a kind of "development orthodoxy" that exists among people who
              work in the field. Have to think about unpack that. I am not sure I
              understand what sampling the fringe would look like, especially in a
              smallish (15-20 people) group. Would you mind giving an example?

              Thanks... Steve
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