What is the Transformative Scenarios Process?

The Shared Realities Project applies the Transformative Scenarios Process (TSP), developed by Reos Partners, as a core method and combines it with Social Lab and Human-centred design approaches.  

About TSP

TSP is a process by which diverse stakeholders together create a shared framework and language for strategic conversations about the situation they are part of and what actions they can take to address it. The focus of TSP is the development, dissemination, and use of a set of scenarios (structured narratives or stories) about what is possible. 

The set of scenarios together provide a map of future possibilities which helps alert people to risks, illuminate opportunities, and to make subtle connections visible. The use of story and imagery allows for a great amount of complexity to be conveyed and processed more effectively than traditional reports or presentations.

The scenarios are crafted not by academics or experts but by a multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary group of actors who comprise a “microcosm” of the system. The impact of the scenarios work is achieved through the changed insights and capabilities of those who participate and come into contact with the scenarios, the collaborative relationships that are formed, and the new strategic actions that emerge to work on key leverage points for change. 

The TSP approach was born 25 years ago and has been applied by Reos Partners many times since then, including in the fields of drug policy, democracy, development, justice, education, land reform, and food security at national, regional, and hemispheric levels. It is a systemic and collaborative approach designed for situations of high complexity, uncertainty and discomfort. 

TSP meets SRP

By working together to bring the events, patterns, structures, and mental models of the larger system into view, Shared Realities Project (SRP) participants will create narratives of possible futures in their contexts.

This approach helps Shared Realities participants to gain a view on both sides of the feedback loop, and to find actionable ways of connecting them.

“Transformative scenarios are impactful because they speak to people’s felt concerns and lived experiences.”

Generating a collection of national-level scenarios creates a new kind of resource for scenario participants and many others, including scholars studying this system of phenomena, practitioners grappling with related dynamics in the context of their work, and everyday citizens navigating their personal, professional, and civic lives in increasingly affected information ecosystems. 

Shared Realities thus complements and builds on knowledge and processes that are already available and can engage participants across existing networks and initiatives. In addition, these national-level scenarios become resources from which global ones can be created in subsequent phases.