Scenario Process

An interactive process

Scenario building is an interactive process. Administrators, policy makers and external experts provided input through interviews, workshops and individual consultation. Together they constructed 4 plausible futures against which current policy can be tested and new policies can be developed.

Phase I: Exploration

Interviews Stakeholders
To help create a long-term vision on the labour market in Limburg and surroundings, 25 administrators were asked to share their vision. This resulted in 25 conversations about the images that administrators have regarding this issues. 25 conversations about ‘dreams and fears’; about opportunities and threats; about inspiration and leadership. The interviews have set the stage and determined the focus of the scenario project.

The full interview report can be downloaded under publications.

Phase II: Scenario design & consultation

Regional exploration
In two regional round table discussions with administrators, policy makers and local experts, fundamental uncertainties are identified. The Walloon round tables took place at Le Forem in Liège and the Flemish meeting at ERSV in Hasselt. The results were fed into the scenario workshop.

Scenario Workshop
From May 13 to 15, a group of 20 experts meet up in Vaals. In 2×24 hours they design the framework for the scenarios. The scenario team includes a broad range of specialists, from labour experts and economists to historians and policymakers, each of whom brings in specific expertise. Together they explore the most important uncertainties, causal relationships and impact on the system. This leads to 4 initial stories; 4 probable futures, within which policy can be tested and designed.

Over the summer, the 1st generation scenarios were presented to stakeholders in the region. In several meetings with administrators, strategists and experts there was ample opportunity for discussion and feedback on the insights that the research has yielded. The input is incorporated into the final scenarios.

On July 14 some 20 administrators met in the Glass Palace in Heerlen to discuss the interim results. The main conclusions:

  • Labour market and economy largely determine the future of the region. The scenario methodology and the causal relationship model (see presentation, Dutch only), provide insight into the dynamics of the labour market. The model was recognizable to administrators and provides a clear view that coordination and cooperation are necessary for a vital regional labour market. It can help administrators to step out of short term thinking and help to develop a long term vision and effective interventions.
  • Broad involvement of all relevant actors from the region (government, industry and education) is necessary for success. It does not seem necessary or appropriate to create at this time a new organisation for this purpose. The scenario project may act – by its own authority – as an authorized thinktank and invites all relevant stakeholders to contribute to this. The initiative will seek in any case, active contact with existing parties in the field of labor and economy, including VWL Samenwerkend Limburg, Stedelijk Netwerk Zuid Limburg and cie. Deetman.

Deputy Odile Wolfs, HIT managing director Frans Bastiaens and scenario expert Kees van der Heijden listen to the opening remarks of Jacques Costongs.

Phase III: Implications

“The Nightingales Met”
On November 18, 2009, 60 administrators and policy makers from Limburg and surrounding areas met in the Provincial government building in Maastricht. Purpose of the meeting was to experience how system thinking can contribute to the development of long-term policy for the success of the region.

Workshop: success formulas
In the workshop, all participants put on a different ‘hat’. Those of the SME entrepreneur, an administrator of the Hogeschook Zuyd, the CEO of a chemical company based on Chemelot or the director of the regional newspaper. Small teams worked together on success formulas for the region in a given scenario. Half imagined themselves in the Korenwolf, the others ‘lived’ the Beehive. In the second round, their task was to not only think about their own success, but also about the impact on the success of the region as a whole.

> Read the success formulas from the 1st round
> Read the success formulas and their impact on the region from the 2nd round