Scenario planning is a strategic planning process of visualizing what future conditions or events are probable, what their consequences or effects would be like, and how to respond to, or benefit from them. In this study, scenario planning was used as a way to help members of the greater Utica community to envision a future within their grasps but different than the current path.
Three scenarios were crafted through methods outlined in The Scenario-Planning Handbook. Each scenario was based on one of the following questions:
- What if the situation got better? The city took advantage of its strengths and opportunities, resulting in economic growth and prosperity in the community.
- What if the city continues on the current path? The city makes a few small changes but no significant change in direction or focus occurs.
- What if the situation worsens? The city is overcome by its weaknesses and threats, there is continuous loss of jobs and economic downturn.
Members of the community were invited to review and write personal stories around different aspects of the scenarios and how they can play out. The stories of 5 young professionals in the Utica community can be found on the main blog page.
The basis of the scenarios were 12 forces and drives distilled from the research collected and analyzed through this study. Through an established framework, these forces/drivers were determined to have the highest potential impact and degree of uncertainty on the Utica area. An outline for each scenario can be found below.
Scenario A: What if the situation got better?
Scenario B: What if the city continues on the current path?
Scenario C: What if the situation worsens?