Scenarios for 2030 - Day 1 - Trends, Uncertainties and Scenarios

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Nov 25, 2013
by Louise Hallman
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Scenarios for 2030 - Day 1 - Trends, Uncertainties and Scenarios

Salzburg Fellows in Japan consider what future they want for the world in 2030 Salzburg Global Seminar Vice President and Chief Program Officer Clare Shine opens the first Salzburg Global Seminar to be held in Japan

Gathering in the traditional surrounds of the Iori machiya (traditional Japanese townhouse) in Kyoto, Japan, the specially selected 30 Salzburg Global Fellows and their faculty kicked of the session ‘People, Peace and Planet in 2030: Shaping Inclusive and Sustainable Growth’ on Sunday, November 24.

Opening the session, Masato Seko, Program Officer from the Nippon Foundation, and Clare Shine, Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer, remarked warmly on the 25 years of cooperation between the two organizations – for which this session is a celebration.

Over the following three days, the Fellows, led by an expert faculty including Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and Michinari Nishimura, founder and president of Greenfield Consulting, specialists in scenario planning, will discuss the challenges facing the world around the issues of regional cooperation, aging societies and energy and resource security, and formulate visions and scenarios for the world in 2030.

Scenarios are “stories about equally plausible future environments,” said Nishimura, and thus scenario planning incorporates much more than just recognizing predictable trends; it is much more concerned with the possible uncertainties of the future than traditional forecasting.

The approach became popular in the early 21st century, after the Asian financial crisis, the dotcom bubble and 9/11, as well as a number of other significant shocks to the system took place, forcing policy makers and businessmen alike to realize they needed to be better prepared for multiple uncertainties.

Scenario planning also necessitates an “outside in” outlook, considering the macro environment (society, economy, policy, technology and global environment) as well as the micro (different stakeholders), before looking inwards.

The reverse approach can lead to isolation and failure. Whilst in business scenario planning multiple scenarios can all present opportunities if the risk is sufficiently managed, in public-sector scenarios there is often a clear preference for a more desirable scenario; the difference lies in whether or not there is the will and commitment to overcome the uncertainties necessary to arrive at the desired scenario, explained Nishimura.

Exactly what that most desired scenario is for the world in 2030, and what are the uncertainties needed to be overcome to be able to reach such a scenario, will be up to the Fellows to determine over the next three days, before they present their plans at the Public Forum, to be held on Friday in Tokyo.


If you are in the Tokyo area and would like to attend the Public Forum, please contact Ms. Sonoko Kinoshita, Nippon Foundation. More information here.