How to build scenarios – Online Course

(Credit Image: “The Future Battlefield“, Army ALT Magazine, Public Domain)

With this course, you will learn how to build top of the range actionable scenarios. You will also see how to communicate these scenarios to decision-makers. Scenario building is also known as scenario analysis in risk management. It is a key methodology to anticipate the future to prepare adequate answers. It is particularly useful for complex, volatile and rapidly changing circumstances.

You will practically learn to develop, step by step, your scenarios (see detail of course modules below). If you have already built scenarios, but maybe without a methodology, this course will help you improving your scenarios and the building process. 

Download our brochure Training and Online Courses – RTAS (pdf) .

This course has been created especially for issues related to international relations, international and national security,  politics and geopolitics, as well as global risks and uncertainties.

However, this course on scenario-building can also be of interest to anyone wanting to develop proper actionable scenarios for other types of issues. Indeed, the fundamental process of developing scenario is the same across domains and issues.

This course is the second of our training programme on strategic foresight and warning and risk management for these issues. The first online course details the strategic foresight and warning process as well as other anticipatory methodologies, explains biases and explains and teaches the analysis and the modeling of your issue for anticipation. If you wish to enroll at once for the two courses (see below) you will get a 21.4% discount on the two courses and enjoy them over one year, instead of the six months planned for each course. Alternatively, if you prefer to register for the first course later, you will benefit of a 10% discount.

The course in summary

The course is available at once upon enrolment. It is provided through units including lecture videos available 24/7, readings, practical examples and exercises from the real world. 

You will be awarded a certificate upon successful completion of all the units and their tests.

The course is designed and taught specifically for analysts and executives who need to anticipate the future, be it through strategic foresight, risk management or any anticipatory process.

The course will guide you throughout the scenario building and scenario analysis process to develop scenarios of excellence. It is of interest to all those who desire to acquire a fundamental practical methodology allowing them to anticipate strategically global, international and domestic political risks, threats and also opportunities.

Watch the introduction video of the first unit of the course

Access unit 1 here (offered).

With this course, you will notably

  • Learn about the use of scenarios for strategic foresight, risk management or more generally “anticipation”.
  • Find out about the major methods used to build scenarios.
  • Learn how to select, with a strong traceable methodology, key variables upon which to build your scenarios.
  • Learn how to use free software products to select your variables.
  • Discover elements of social network analysis.
  • Learn how to create a structure for your set of scenarios.
  • Master the development of branches for each of your scenarios.
  • Learn to add indicators to each of your scenarios.
  • Learn how to estimate the probability for each scenario of your set.
  • Find out more about black swans and wild cars scenarios
  • Learn how to finalise your scenarios for communication to decision-makers.
  • Obtain a certificate if you successfully completed all units.

The course is principally designed for…

Concerned Actors

  • Analysts and future analysts in issues related to international relations, crises, politics, international politics, security, defence, war, peace-building, etc.
  • Risk, security, strategic foresight and warning officers.
  • Prospective futurists who want to learn or improve their skills in scenario-building.
  • Executives in strategic positions who need to face a highly volatile environment;
  • Consultants who must guide their clients through an uncertain future;
  • Executives and consultants who must answer legal obligations in terms of governance, risk and compliance and want to take this opportunity to use proven methodologies to handle uncertainty.

In most organisations

  • Private sector staff;
  • Government officials;
  • Staff of international organisations and NGOs;
  • Military professionals;
  • Researchers and students;
  • Consultants.

Groups

If you want to register a large number of participants, contact us.


Teaching and Training

This course is designed to benefit from the online learning environment. Meanwhile it remains grounded in proper classical high-level academic teaching. It benefits from years of methodological reflection to improve the strategic foresight process. It also completely integrates executive course training, as well as practical experience, including as analyst of international relations issues notably for strategic foresight/anticipation (check the website for many various examples of analyses).

Trainer

Dr Helene Lavoix holds a PhD in international relations from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (and a MSc with distinction in international politics of Asia, SOAS).

She is an experienced and international lecturer. She currently teaches at Master level at the renown SciencesPo – Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) in the global risk – international security section (3rd position globally in “Politics and International Studies”, just behind Harvard University and the University of Oxford, first university of continental Europe in this discipline).
Previously, she taught at the RSIS, Nanyang University in Singapore, Master in Strategic Studies. She also trains executives, officials and analysts either with tailor-designed training for public, corporate, and NGOs’ clients or in dedicated programs (notably Brussels with Vesalius College).

She has more than twenty five years practical experience as an analyst in international relations, specialised over the last fifteen years in strategic foresight and early warning. She is fully acquainted with the various specificities of SF&W and risk management, from analysis to the challenges met by officers through her work as international coordinator for the Global Futures Forum and, even more directly as Director of the Red (Team) Analysis Society. See full bio here.

What They Say

“This course [Sciences-Po-PSIA Master] is one of the few that are actually useful, putting theory into practice. I learned so much in the way of foresight and warning that I began to consider a viable career in risk analysis and crisis management.”

Nicole Stroner, MA, Analyst at The Asia Group Washington D.C., U.S.


“I found the course designed by Dr Helene on GEOPOLITICAL RISK AND CRISIS ANTICIPATION extremely interesting and engaging.The course enhanced my planning skills both at the macro as well as the micro level. The course was very well paced and content appropriate. The simulation exercises added a lot of clarity to the underlying theory. I highly recommend this course to anybody who is interested or involved in doing advanced planning or policy making exercises. Dr Helene has been very helpful throughout the course and thanks to her that such a critical course is being offered so effortlessly through her online module”

Indranil Roy Chowdhury – Head of Planning and Investments, MOBH Group


“I really enjoyed the course on “Geopolitical Risk and Crisis Anticipation – analytical modelling.” It provides insights for academics, decision-makers and practitioners on how to model and evaluate different anticipated scenarios. Students are guided through both theoretical underpinnings of crisis anticipation, including psychological mechanisms that could prevent accurate anticipations, as well as practical applications and help in modelling their own case studies. The strength of the course is the high applicability of its content to various contexts, which gives students the ability to match the skills acquired through the course with their professional background. “

Linda Schlegel, MA (distinction) King’s College, Senior Editor at The Counterterrorism Group, London, UK.



“I was fortunate enough to take Dr. Lavoix’s first on-line course on Risk and Anticipation. I strongly recommend this clever and useful teaching and learning experience — not only to those who are in the safety and security field, but truly to anyone in an otherwise applied social science domain. The scenario building tools she provides are applicable to any arena where decision analysis applies. Indeed, as the Director of a language Institute in Casablanca, I’ve had cause to refer back to this course several times. For those already working within a geopolitical arena, or simply students of political science itself, the bibliography she provides is a treasure. Being able to pace yourself through the course, coupled with Dr. Lavoix’s accessibility, makes for a deep learning experience. Certainly, when my own schedule permits I shall embark on the second course in the series.”

Charles Lord Jr., MSW, PhD
Director at Université Mohammed VI des Sciences de la Santé, New London/Norwich, Connecticut Area.

The Course

This course is delivered through 15 units in 5 modules, including one triple and one double units. See also below further practical details.

The Course Modules

Module 1 – Building Scenarios

This module introduces and presents the course. It provides a brief reminder of the overall methodology and locates scenario-building within it. It underlines the main aims we seek to attain with scenarios. It explains what are scenarios and the fundamentals of scenario-building.

Module 2 – Software for Analysis and Scenarios

With this module you will be introduced to open source and free software products – yEd Graph and Gephi – which we shall use in the rest of the course.

The advantages of using these software for anticipatory analysis are underlined and followed by two tutorials, one per software product.

For those who did not take the online course 1 on modeling, then they will learn how to use these software products. For those who completed online course 1, then they will have the tutorials available in case they need a revision.

Module 3 – Selecting Variables for Scenarios

With this module you will learn to select crucial variables for your issue or risk. The first unit will present many ways to select and combine variables. It will start showing how these variables are used as starting points to build scenarios. The second unit will focus on the method called influence analysis, but that we shall revisit to include  measurements possibilities that did not exist when the methodology was created. The third unit of this module is an online tutorial where you will learn to use the open source free software Gephi to select your variables. It is followed by a unit entirely devoted to exercises, then by a unit for testing what you acquired with the two previous units. Finally, you will learn to prepare the selected variables to be ready for the next stage.

Module 4 – Building a Set of Scenarios

This module, first, goes deeper into scenarios fundamentals and highlight principles and rules that will guide you throughout the remaining part of the process of scenario-building. These principles will also allow you to find out very easily if scenarios are valid or not. Then, using the variables you selected and prepared, you will learn to first develop the overall structure or architecture of your scenarios and then to develop one after the other the branches of what will become your scenario tree. The module emphasises the importance of imagination and the difference between creating scenarios and developing analytical explanation, as this is often a challenge for many trainees. At the end of this module you will have learned to develop a full set of scenarios, with narratives.

Module 5 – Making your Scenarios Actionable

With this module, you will learn to go a step further with your scenarios, making sure they are truly actionable and useful to your organisation. You will learn about indicators, the difference between indicators and indications, and how to attribute the right indicators to each scenario. Then you will learn how to estimate the likelihood of each of your scenarios. Next, you will find out about black swans and wild card scenarios. Finally, you will learn how to finalise your scenarios for communication to decision-makers. 

Completed course

The whole course should take you between 10 and 15 weeks to complete. You may also choose, of course, to spend more time on one unit or another, or actually less. In this way, you fully adapt the course to your needs.

You will receive a certificate on successful completion of all units and their tests.

The course, your progress and the units will be accessible from the item “my account” (right below the login, in the menu) or from the next item “my online course”.

If you wish to obtain further details and have more questions on our online course, do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, contact us so that we can create a taylor-made training for your specific needs we shall deliver in our premises.

Enroll Now

The course on scenario-building




Online Course – Scenario-Building for Strategic Foresight and Risk Management

Description

With this course, you will learn how to build top of the range actionable scenarios. You will see too how to communicate them to decision-makers. Scenario building is also known as scenario analysis. It is a critical methodology to anticipate the future to prepare adequate responses. Scenarios are particularly useful in complex, volatile and rapidly changing circumstances. You will practically learn to develop, step by step, your scenarios. You can find all the details on the course and its content here, including a presentation of the five modules for the 15 units. We offer  the first unit, the introduction to the course so that you can experiment with the course. This course has been created especially for issues related to international relations, international and national security,  politics and geopolitics, as well as global risks and uncertainties. It is the second course of our training programme on strategic foresight and warning for these issues. The first online course details the strategic foresight and warning process as well as other anticipatory methodologies, explains biases and walks you through the analysis and the modeling of your issue. However, this course on scenario-building can also be of interest to anyone wanting to develop proper actionable scenarios whatever the issue at hand. Indeed the fundamental process of developing scenario is the same across domains and issues. Even if you have already built scenarios, but maybe without a methodology, this course will help you improving your scenarios and the building process. Including practical examples and exercises from the real world, the course is designed and taught specifically for analysts and executives who need to anticipate the future be it with strategic foresight, risk management or any anticipatory process. It will guide them throughout the scenario building process to develop scenarios of excellence. The course will be of interest to all those who desire to acquire a fundamental practical methodology allowing them to anticipate strategically global, international and domestic political risks, threats and also opportunities. With this course, you get an access to the Red (Team) Analysis Society premium articles included in the units’ readings. Meanwhile, you benefit from access to most premium articles of our section “How to Foresee and Warn – Methodology”. You will receive a certificate at the end of the course if you successfully completed all units with their tests. Check also our bundle offering a special price for this course and course 1 From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling.

Other advantages:

  1. 10% discount on the course: From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling.
  2. 10 % discount on our Platinum Membership Plan.

Online Course – Scenario-Building for Strategic Foresight and Risk Management

From: £750.00 for 6 months

With this course, you will learn how to build top of the range actionable scenarios and to communicate them to decision-makers. Scenario building, or scenario analysis, is a critical methodology to anticipate the future so as to prepare adequate responses. This course has been created especially for issues related to international relations, international and national security,  politics and geopolitics as well as global risks and uncertainties. However, it can also be of interest to anyone wanting to develop proper actionable scenarios whatever the issue at hand.

Includes also:

  • Certificate at the end of the course if you successfully completed all units with their tests.
  • Access to the Red (Team) Analysis Society premium articles included in the readings of the course.
  • Access to most premium articles of our section “How to Foresee and Warn – Methodology”.
  • 10% discount on the course: From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling.
  • 10 % discount on our Platinum Membership Plan.

(To register a large number of course participants, contact us)

Clear
Want a discount? Become a member.
Want a discount? Become a member.
Want a discount? Become a member.

Or choose our special bundle with the two courses: from process of strategic foresight to analytical modeling + scenario building – 1 year

Online Courses – From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling + Scenario-Building

Description

With this bundle you can enroll for the two courses of our training program on strategic foresight and warning and risk management, for a year.

  1. From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling (see details here)
  2. Scenario building (see details here)

With the first course, From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling, you will find out about the process of anticipation and its various methodologies, from strategic foresight and warning, early warning, to risk management. Then you will see in detail the various biases we need to mitigate and strategies to overcome them. Finally, you will learn to create, step by step, practically with examples and exercises, the model or mapping for your issue or risk. You will thus learn to identify all the drivers, factors and actors for your issue or risk and  to link them. You will thus have learned the core of most if not all foresight methodologies. And you will be fully ready for the second course.

With the second course, scenario-building or scenario analysis for strategic foresight and risk management, you will learn how to build top of the range actionable scenarios and to communicate them to decision-makers. You will move from scenario fundamentals and guiding principles through selection of key variables to developing scenario branches. You will also learn to find indicators for your scenarios and to asses the probability of your scenarios.

The two courses were developed specifically for issues and risks related to international relations, international and national security, politics and geopolitics as well as global risks and uncertainties. They can however be of interest to anyone involved in dealing with the future.

You also get an access to the Red (Team) Analysis Society premium articles included in the readings’ recommendations of the two courses, and to most premium articles of our section “How to Foresee and Warn – Methodology”.

You will receive a certificate at the end of the course if you successfully completed all units with their tests.

Also included, a 10 % discount on our Platinum Membership Plan.

(To register a large number of course participants, contact us).

Online Courses – From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling + Scenario-Building

From: £1,100.00 for 1 year

This bundle allows you to enroll for the two courses of our training program on strategic foresight and warning and risk management for a year:

  • From Process of Strategic Foresight to Analytical Modeling (see details here)
  • Scenario-Building (see details here)
  • Access to the Red (Team) Analysis Society premium articles included in the readings recommendations of the two courses, plus to most premium articles of our section “How to Foresee and Warn – Methodology”.
  • Certificate for each course if you successfully completed all units with their tests.
  • 10 % discount on our Platinum Membership Plan.

(To register a large number of course participants, contact us).

Clear

Further practical information and recommendations for studying online

How is the Course Delivered?

A training available 24/7 for 6 full months

It is planned to take between 10 and 15 weeks to complete, as average, depending on participants. You may, of course, set the pace for yourself, according to what interests you most and to your constraints, notably in terms of time.

You can benefit from access to the course for 6 full months. With usual training, and even with webinars and online conferences, once you have finished your training, you only have your notes and your memories. Here you can go back to each unit and use it fully how often you want and need.

Adapted to the online environment

Each unit includes a “lecture” video or a software tutorial, created to consider the specificities of online learning. Indeed, videos should not last much more than twenty minutes as the attention span is reduced on the internet compared with a classical setting. “Research has shown the most successful courses in terms of content retention and course completion run in the 15-20 minute range” (Randhir Vieira, eLearn Magazine, March 2014).

Furthermore, shorter videos will allow for easier further consultation in case of need. Finally, shorter videos also allow for watching them more easily considering busy schedules.

Active learning

Active learning, for each unit, has been sought to allow for a better learning and assimilation process. We have thus created exercises specifically for this online course, to allow for practice. We have also designed and incorporated tests.

For most units, specific readings are provided in two categories. You are highly encouraged to read the “recommended” ones. This reading is considered as a full part of each unit’s learning process. The section “further readings” is provided as an option, should you seek to further develop this or that aspect of the unit.

Most units end with an online interactive computer-marked assignment (a quiz). This test not only allows you to measure your progress, but also makes you benefit from “the testing effect”, according to which “the effort of retrieving knowledge from memory facilitates learning” (Gauri, Reyes, Mindflash, 28 July 2014). Finally, successfully taking a test, means you have completed a unit. To complete all units and to get a pass for each of them is necessary to obtain the final certificate.

Your input as an active learner and your schedule

Your own pace

The great advantage of online course is that you may progress at your own pace. You may dedicate a variable amount of time to each unit according to previous understanding, interest and needs.

Your input as an “active learner” per unit can thus be adapted according to your busy schedule and the depth of knowledge you wish to acquire.

Software tutorials constitute three full units. You will then use these software products for the remaining part of the course. Thanks to the principle of online courses, you will be able to watch the tutorials as often as you need and when necessary, while practicing. As a result, you will develop an easy and stress-free mastery of these software products. Using them, with all the advantages they provide, will become as easy and as natural as using a word processor.

Managing time

Some modicum of structure is also very helpful to frame an endeavour or, actually, any project. Furthermore, we are all very busy and time flies. Online learning is set in circumstances that are very different from those to which we are all used with classical training, when we physically go to a training session. In that case we have materially freed time to learn.

Sparing time

With online learning, you spare transportation time, sometimes hotels time, coffee breaks and lengthy lunches, to say nothing of induced costs. This helps you fit in-depth training much more easily in your agendas. Thus, you can go further compared with what you could have achieved during a “physical” training. But, it also means that you will probably not have freed time for your training.

Creating time

So, to help you creating this time for your course and learning process, you should plan for one week per unit maximum, even if you have not done all the reading. Ultimately you are the one who will decide how much time you want to attribute to each unit. For example, for a specific unit you may decide to spend more time to make more readings and exercises. You will receive an email each time you completed a unit (i.e. once you successfully complete the corresponding test), which you can use as an agenda reminder.

A short FAQ on scenarios

What is a scenario for strategic foresight or risk management?

For strategic foresight, risk management or any anticipatory methodology, a scenario is a fictionalized narrative set at a specific time in the future. It answers a question about the future. It is grounded in a detailed analysis of this question.

What is the use of scenarios

Scenarios allow to get prepared to face coming changes.

How do you create scenarios for strategic foresight or risk management?

You use a specific methodology, called scenario building – also known as scenario analysis – which has been developed over decades of practice. In a nutshell, the methodology follows the following steps:
1. Defining the issue;
2. Identifying the factors and linking them: mapping or modelling the issue;
3. Selecting the key variables for your issue;
4. Using these variables you selected to develop the overall structure of your scenarios;
5. Developing the branches of what will become your scenario tree;
6. Make your scenarios actionable (with indicators, probability, etc.);
7. Communicate your scenarios adequately.

Is there a way to know if scenarios are good?

Yes, if your scenarios are built according to a proper methodology then they will be valid. There are points to check to evaluate if scenarios are valid or not.

What is scenario analysis in risk management?

Scenario analysis is a methodology through which you analyse a question regarding the future, notably its key uncertainties. Through this method you build a set of fictionalised narratives that outline the cone of possible futures. Scenario analysis is similar to scenario building.

How do you do a scenario analysis?

To do a scenario analysis is the same thing as to build scenarios. You need to follow a proper methodology summarized, in a nutshell, as:
1. Defining the issue;
2. Identifying the factors and linking them: mapping or modelling the issue;
3. Selecting the key variables for your issue;
4. Using these variables you selected to develop the overall structure of your scenarios;
5. Developing the branches of what will become your scenario tree;
6. Make your scenarios actionable (with indicators, probability, etc.);
7. Communicate your scenarios adequately.