Scenario projects in Japanese government: Twenty years of experience, five tales from the front line

Scenario projects in Japanese government: Twenty years of experience, five tales from the front line cover image

Title:

Scenario projects in Japanese government: Twenty years of experience, five tales from the front line

Author(s):

Kakuwa, Masahiro

How does scenario planning in government differ from scenario planning in the corporate world? This paper considers five projects done in Japan – four from the public sector, one from the private sector – and finds that when comparing to people in the private business, public servants have cognitive and institutional constraints on their thinking. This makes it hard for them to contemplate multiple, ‘untidy’ futures, and imagine the possibility of policy failure: skills which are essential for successful scenario projects. The possible solution may be to shake them out of their thinking with ‘derailment’ – allowing them to discuss the future as they would like to come about, and then exploring ways in which that desired scenario might not occur. The other observation is that, although there has been growing demand from Japanese public sector organisation of scenario type brainstorming opportunities, for public servants, these are preferred as an isolated event rather than a routinely institutionalised process in the policy making and policy execution. They enjoy the scenario planning only as a refreshing event and as a chance to explore and learn new things

This is a copy of Masahiro Kakuwa's full paper as originally published.  Sections on Analysis and Case Studies have been extracted as separate documents for members who only wish to view individual bytes.