By Joern Fischer
A little while ago, we conducted a scenario planning analysis in Southern Transylvania, Romania. Scenario planning is suitable where uncertainty about the future is high, and where things cannot be easily controlled. We worked with a wide range of regional organizations and a number of individual experts to construct four alternative scenarios describing possible futures for Southern Transylvania. Our goal was to assess a wide range of possible changes that might take place. We summarized the scenarios describing alternative future development paths. Our scenarios are short stories of what the future might be like, and they are based on a “systems understanding” of how one change causes another, which in turn may cause yet another change, and so on.
Our goal was for those scenarios to help stimulate new thinking about the future in the region. But how can this be done in practice — in a location where civic engagement is traditionally low, and government is not necessarily interested in sustainability issues?
As one of our outreach tools, we produced a small booklet — about 60 pages long — and that booklet has just been published online. It is an open access publication, so you are free to distribute it as you like.
Key features of our booklet are:
- We use simple, accessible language throughout the booklet, and avoid all academic language — in Romanian and Hungarian (both are important local languages).
- We use “narratives” of alternative futures, as well as fictional accounts of people living in the future — who describe how they experience a given future.
- We use original artwork (by Jan Hanspach) to illustrate the scenarios.
- We have included quotes from interviews in the region to illustrate aspects of the scenarios that are already taking place throughout the book.
- As next steps, we will distribute this booklet in Transylvania (in May), and we are planning poster exhibitions and flyers, too.
- We are contemplating constructing a second version, in German/English, which would be of “academic” use, too.
The entire booklet is available for download and distribution at Pensoft.