Alternate Version: PDF version (8 pages, 78 KB) 2016-272-guide_assumptionsreversal-eng.pdf
OBJECTIVE: TO ASSESS THE VALIDITY OF OUR ASSUMPTIONS.
This is a fun exercise that helps participants to explore alternatives to their assumptions. It also gives direction to new scanners wondering where to begin scanning for weak signals. This activity is easily scaled; it can be carried out with a small group of scanners working individually or a larger group working in scanning teams. This guide provides instructions for a group of 25 working in scanning teams of 3-5 people.
- 1 facilitator
- 15–25 participants
- 1 note-taker (optional)
- 1 or 2 assistants (optional)
- Facilitator flipchart/writeable wall and marker
- Assumptions (2 per team on flipchart or sticky notes)
- Assumptions reversal example (written on a flipchart or PowerPoint slide)
- Minimum one laptop per team (the more the better)
- Flipchart and markers for each team (optional)
- Projector/computer (optional)
Post on the wall:
- Poster with assumptions question (optional)
- A visual agenda (optional)
- Rules of engagement (optional)
- 2 headings on sticky notes (optional): What worked? What could be better?
Meeting Space: A large room with seating for all in groups of 3–5, conducive to hearing other participants,
seeing the facilitator’s flipchart and working in teams. Breakout rooms for teamwork are optional.
|5 MIN||1. General meeting instructions (if needed)|
|40 MIN||2. Give context for the assumptions reversal exercise (7 minute)
3. Provide self-facilitated activity instructions (3 minutes)
4. Perform self-facilitated teamwork
6. Summarize points of the assumptions reversal exercise (2 minutes)
|10 MIN||7. Reflect on and/or evaluate the exercise|
EST. TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
BEFORE THE MEETING
Prepare the room
- The facilitator will need a flipchart, writeable wall space or a PowerPoint slide to demonstrate a sample assumptions reversal.
- In a large room, seat participants so they can see each other as well as the facilitator and flipchart/presentation. Arrange seating to facilitate work in teams, or spread out into breakout rooms. If using breakout teams, consider having an assistant or two available to help monitor progress and answer any questions that might arise.
- Each scanning team will need at least one laptop (preferably one per team member). A flipchart for each team may also be desired to report back findings to the larger group.
- Post on the wall any visual aids that will be referred to in the meeting.
- The facilitator will need some assumptions for each team to work with; aim to have enough for 2 per team. They can be handed out on sticky notes or listed on a flipchart.
- If this activity follows an assumptions exercise with the group, they can vote on the most important assumptions to identify which ones to explore further with assumptions reversal. (A second round of voting might help if there are too many top candidates.)
- If there isn’t time for a full assumptions exercise, consider adding 5 minutes to the meeting to generate just enough assumptions for the reversal exercise (2 per team). Have a notetaker record the conversation with a screen for all to see the list. This may not yield the most important assumptions, nor will every participant be able to contribute an idea, but it is fast. It will still deliver the point of the exercise: how to use assumptions as a starting point to direct our scanning.
|5 min||1. General meeting introductions (if needed)
|7 min||2. Give context for the assumptions reversal exercise
Option: If the group needs to warm up (e.g. first thing in the morning), consider facilitating the demonstration instead of presenting it. Ask participants for a few assumptions and alternative assumptions about restaurants or another tangible subject such as schools or hospitals. Fill in the first and second columns and, if participants can think of examples that counter the conventional model, fill in the third. Allow a few extra minutes if the example is facilitated rather than presented, but keep it brief; be illustrative rather than exhaustive.
3. Provide self-facilitated activity instructions
|20 min||4. Perform self-facilitated teamwork
|8 min||5. Report back to the group
|2 min||6. Summarize points of the assumptions reversal exercise
7. Reflect on and/or evaluate the exercise
BUILDING A FORESIGHT WORKSHOP: COMPLEMENTARY ACTIVITIES TO CONSIDER
Before the exercise:
- Deliver the Assumptions presentation and/or the assumptions exercise. The assumptions reversal exercise then reminds participants of the foresight message that we must remain open to the possibility that our core assumptions about the future could be wrong.
- Deliver the Introduction to Scanning presentation (module 3). This exercise provides a starting point for new scanners wondering where to look for signs of change.
After the exercise:
- Develop a cascade diagram (module 3). Starting with a new weak signal from this exercise, the group can develop a cascade diagram to explore potential future consequences if the weak signal were to grow into a substantial change. Alternatively, the facilitator might wish to reverse a few assumptions with the group, omit the scanning activity, and simply proceed to developing a cascade diagram using an alternative assumption.