Serialisation and the use of Twitter: Keeping the conversation alive in public policy scenario projects

Frances O'Brien, Maureen Meadows, Sam Griffiths

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    6 Citations (Scopus)
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    Scenario planning projects have been used in a variety of organisational settings to explore future uncertainty. The scenario process is often a participative one involving heterogeneous stakeholder groups from multiple organisations, particularly when exploring issues of wider public concern. Facilitated workshops are a common setting for scenario projects, typically requiring people to be physically present in order to participate and engage with others for the duration of the project. During workshops, participants progress through the stages of the process, generating content relevant to each stage and ultimately the scenarios themselves. However, the periods between workshops and other episodes of activity (e.g. interviewing stakeholders) are rarely mentioned in such accounts. Thus we know very little about what activities take place between such activities, when they occur and who is involved. This is a particular issue for larger scale scenario projects that run over a period of weeks or months and involve multiple workshops; in such cases organisers and facilitators have to consider how to maintain the interest and levels of engagement of participants throughout the duration of the project. A variety of social media exist which allow people to interact with each other virtually, both in real time and asynchronously. We reflect on the use of social media within a project to develop scenarios for the future of the food system around Birmingham, UK, in the year 2050. We explore how a particular social media, namely Twitter, can be used effectively as part of a scenario planning project, for example to engage participants and encourage contributions to the project. We suggest that Twitter can support the serialisation of strategic conversations between the face-to-face workshops. The paper considers the implications of these reflections for both the scenario process and scenario projects more generally.

    Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, [(in press), (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2017.05.015

    © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26-40
    Number of pages35
    JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
    Early online date30 May 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


    • scenario development
    • social media
    • twitter
    • workshops
    • serialisation


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