1 – Introduction to the 2 steps
The scenario building consists of an iterative dialogue between two reciprocal processes:
§ An inductive bottom-up process starting from the creative generation of promising tentative ideas to suggest new scenarios of reconfiguration of the current system of products and services;
§ A deductive top-down approach starting from a systematic exploration of promising reconfigurations of the current system of products and services describing alternative scenarios and suggesting new tentative solutions.
Both processes make use of a polarity-based approach. A polarity shows a possible variation of one dimension of the PSS in two opposite directions: i.e. the relationship between the user and the product may be individual or collective, enabling or relieving…pointing each time an alternative situation more or less relevant to the objectives of the project.
Figure 1: Polarities are represented by a line with arrows at both ends between and a pair of opposite concepts figuring the potential variation considered in the current system of products and services.
The following description will present both inductive and deductive processes as two coherent and consecutive sequences of activities for the sake of a didactic explanation. In practice, the two processes are mostly conducted in parallel as an iterative dialog converging progressively towards a limited set of promising scenarios and a related number of consistent tentative solutions.
2 – Preparation phase
Before starting the construction of the Design Orienting Scenarios, a preparation phase is necessary in order to gather information on the actors in presence; their motivations, the contexts in which they evolve, the strength and weakness of the current situation, etc. A series of concise formats are presented in order to sum up input information coming from the “Strategic Analysis” phase and share it easily within the participants to the scenario building activity.
3 - Inductive process:
There are 3 steps in the inductive process:
§ Creative Sessions;
§ Clustering and organisation;
§ Description of characteristics.
Step 1: Creative Sessions
Creative sessions start from the collective review of all project-input material to generate spontaneous tentative solutions. The creative session may be conducted through classical brainstorming sessions in sub-groups. In order to facilitate exchanges and communication between participants, tentative solutions are presented on a standard format (Figure 2) based on a simple drawing showing a specific feature or characteristic of the idea and a short slogan explaining it.
Figure 2: tentative solutions emerging form a brainstorming session.
Step 2: Clustering and organisation
Clustering and organisation of the generated tentative solutions show promising directions of variation within the current system of product and services. These variations are represented by polarities. A mapping (Figure 3) with the generated solution is made crossing the two most characteristic polarities.
Figure 3: polarities emerging from the clustering of the promising solutions.
Step 3: Description of characteristics
The characteristics of the four generated areas are described. They constitute the core visions of alternative scenarios (Figure 4). It is to be noted that most of the time one of the four areas describes the current system of products and services, and the three other are alternative scenarios.
Figure 4: polarities diagram presenting the core vision of four promising scenarios.
4 - Deductive process
The deductive process is made of 3 steps:
§ List of possible polarisations;
§ Combination of two polarisations;
§ Creative sessions.
Step 1: List of possible polarisations
Starting from a collective review of all project input materials, consistent polarities showing possible changes in the current system of product and services may be listed for their pertinence to the objectives of the project (Figure 5).
Figure 5: list of possible polarisation within the current product service system.
Step 2: Combination of two polarisations
The combination of the two most pertinent polarisations defines new promising areas orienting solution generation (Figure 6).
Figure 6: combination of two promising polarities toward the project objectives
Step 3: Creative sessions
A creative brainstorming within each of the four areas generates new tentative solutions (Figure 7).
Figure 7: tentative solutions emerging from the four areas described by the polarity diagram.
5 - Description of the Design Orienting Scenarios
Repeated iterations of both inductive and deductive processes according to time and availability of the actors involved allows to re-organise the outputs and map them against the dimensions identified (Figure 8).
The output is based on:
§ A set of promising scenarios agreed upon by the involved actors (where a “set of scenario” means a diagram made of the combination of 2 polarities describing 4 contrasted scenarios);
§ A description of each 4 scenario visions (where a “scenario vision” describes how the system of current PSS may evolve);
§ A cluster of related tentative solution ideas (where a “cluster of related tentative ideas” is a selection of ideas that is emblematic of the scenario vision and thus may represent it).
Figure 8: the two figures show a “polarity diagram” with respectively a set of scenario concepts and related cluster of characteristic product-service system ideas.