Institutions or sector bodies can use the LotF scenarios to plan for the future. Scenarios are stories of possible (rather than predicted) futures, and can be used to help deal with uncertainty and to anticipate real-world behaviour. They create mental models which can be shared between people, institutions and sectors to explore the external environment and assess the potential implications of change.
While developing coherent, imaginative and useful scenarios is important, this process is not an end in itself. Scenarios create a shared language for understanding the environment in which they are operating, and for discussing future options for academic libraries. They can be used to frame strategic discussions between stakeholders, and can improve decision-making. For example, people find it engaging to be asked: What would our organisation be like under each scenario? How would we plan for each scenario? Which scenario is better for us? What are the decision points when action has to be taken for each scenario? What are the policies and actions that are indicated under all the scenarios? Workshops or strategy work can be built around the scenarios and these types of questions.
Five possible uses of the scenarios are:
- developing new strategies
- assessing existing strategies
- highlighting early indicators of change
- providing a long-term planning focus
- avoiding complacency.
Longer term scenarios were also developed as part of the project, information on these is available here.