STEEPVM Introduction

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Sometimes ideas are lurking around in the most unexpected places. Planners in business, marketing and government use what they call scenarios to try to predict the future. They usually start with the present day and try to extrapolate what the future will be like if certain changes happen. Historians sometimes create counter factual histories to try to come up with ideas of what might have happened had things happened differently. Writers who tell science fiction, time travel fiction or alternate history stories know both these ideas under other names.

Planners have created techniques to help them to try to predict the future rather than just writing sprawling scenarios. One such technique is called STEEPV, its acronym coming from the six areas it looks at as it tries to predict the future:

  • Social
  • Technology
  • Economics
  • Ecology
  • Politics
  • Values

They decide how far they are going to move time forward from the present day. For each of these areas they describe changes from the present day and then describe the results of the change. They may repeat the process with further iterations, each moving the time forward and changing from the previous timeframes.

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