April 19, 2009

Future Cone

Scenarios may distinguis between possible, plausible, probable, and preferable futures as captured by the “futures cone” (see figure )

• Possible futures include everything we can imagine, regardless of how unlikely it may be, and may involve the results of knowledge that we do not yet have, but that may be available in the future.

• Plausible futures have a reasonable probability of occurring, as they are in line with the current general knowledge and understanding of how the world operates.

• Probable futures are likely to happen, as they are largely extrapolations of the present and the past into the future.

• Finally, in contrast to the previously described futures, the preferable futures are not a product of (non-) existing knowledge, but are based on subjective
judgments and values, as they describe the outcomes desired by individuals or organizations.

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