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Dr Paul Duignan on Outcomes: An evaluation colleague Robert Hickson recently raised the question of whether DoView software (download trial) can be used for future studies - the study of what's going to happen and how we can plan for it.  

Because DoView is agile visualization planning software it certainly could add value in the future studies area. I've also been wondering for a while about how DoView could be used in scenario planning - a cool sub-set of future studies which deals with situations where there is major uncertainty about the future. 

DoView is currently used in many different ways by many users, but the way I usually construct DoViews when doing my consulting work these days is to ask people to: imagine that it is 10 or 20 years out from now and your project has been totally successful. Draw the road-map of what occurred to get you to this happy state (see here for the rules for drawing DoView models in this way).

This way of working means that this type of DoView is a projection as to what the planning group hopes will occur in the future. The next thing I get people to do it then to map onto this their immediate priorities for what they think needs to happen in the next planning period (e.g. a year). See here for how to prioritize onto a DoView model.

As a consequence, this type of Outcomes DoView is very future focused. In practice this means that we are integrating the environmental scanning and future focused aspects of strategic planning (e.g. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - SWOT analyses) into the visual representation of the strategic plan itself rather than doing those as separate exercises and not always ensuring that they are fully integrated within the actual planning and prioritization process.  

So this means that, in a sense, this type of DoView is future-focused and hence a statement about what it is believed will happen in the future. I'm very keen to push the boundaries on this further into the future studies space.

If you are using DoView in any way for future studies, let us know

Paul Duignan, PhD. You can follow me on Twitter.com/PaulDuignan or contact me here.

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