The unit in a few words

This unit is the introduction to the course on scenario-building. It explains in detail what the course covers. Then it locates scenario-building within the strategic foresight and warning process and also highlights that scenario building is part of risk assessment techniques. It explains what is needed to start the scenario building process proper, i.e. mainly a question and the variables or factors underlying your issue (what is covered in course 1). It ends on concluding thoughts on the future of scenarios.

Scenarios as diamonds

In this concept artist illustration, in the tunnel into the unknown future, we shall find a diamond, as a metaphor for scenarios. We only need to dare to look truly at the future, and then we shall find these scenarios that will guide us through uncertainty.

Credit image: Art direction and modification by Jean-Dominique Lavoix Carli, using images by Noupload from Pixabay [public domain] and diamond PNG designed by 千图网 from [public domain].

A snapshot of what you will learn

With this unit, you will

  • Start being acquainted with scenarios, what they are and what is their use
  • Find out about the steps needed to build scenarios as the course is built to follow this step by step approach.
  • Know where you are headed with the course;
  • Find out how each unit of the course is organised;
  • Be reminded about the whole anticipation process;
  • Locate scenario building within the strategic foresight and warning process;
  • Be reminded of what we have (the previous step) to start building our scenarios.
  • Thus be ready to practically start learning to build scenarios.

Practical recommendations

Start by watching the video, then read (some) of the readings. As this unit is an introduction to the course, and as it is also a public unit – to allow prospective trainees a first taste of the course – there is no test to take at the end of the unit.

The course unit

Lecture – Video

Slide from the video

Download slide here (only for registered trainees).

Recommended readings

Premium articles included in your course (only for registered trainees)

You need to be logged in to read them and/or download the pdf.

Helene Lavoix, When Risk Management Meets Strategic Foresight and Warning, The Red Team Analysis Society, 25 February 2019

 Books and articles (open access)

Kahn Herman, & Anthony J. Wiener, “The Use of Scenarios“,  January 1, 1967, Adapted from The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty-Three Years (Macmillan, 1967), © Hudson Institute.

Books and articles (behind paywall)

IEC 31010:2019 Risk management — Risk assessment techniques, June 2019.

Further readings

Lofgren, E.T. and N.H. Fefferman. 2007. “The Untapped Potential of Virtual Game Worlds to Shed Light on Real World Epidemics”. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 7:625-629 – Access through ResearchGate.


No test for this unit.

Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for international relations, national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the war in Ukraine, international order and the rise of China, the overstepping of planetary boundaries and international relations, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.