Scenario Planning (SP) is a powerful methodology initially developed as a strategic management tool for commercial companies and is now widely used in policy settings, for future focused research in urban planning, energy production and disaster management, amongst others. It is, we believe, is also highly relevant to healthcare policy and management. SP has however been described as suffering from methodological chaos (Martelli, 2001). Also, much of the methodological development of SP is set in the practitioner domain. Researchers need to use this learning but in ways that meet academic standards. This paper presents a critical review of Scenario Planning (SP) as a research methodology, considering SP as a research strategy, associated methods and criteria by which SP may be evaluated. The review is framed around a practical example – a study to investigate the (non)adoption of RFID in the English health service. Currently, RFID adoption in the NHS is limited to isolated pilot projects. Assessment of potential costs and benefits and adoption trajectories requires an understanding of ‘alternative futures’, developed using a wide range of sources and techniques. This paper’s contribution to healthcare management research is the evaluation of SP as powerful planning and research tool, with suggestions on how certain practical challenges may be addressed. The contribution to futures studies is in a closer alignment of the methods of SP to the standards of high quality research. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the potential contribution of SP research to healthcare management in domains beyond IT/IS adoption.
Bibliographical noteConference Abstracts: Posters
Hussain, M., Knight, L., & Lim, M. (2012). Scenario planning for healthcare management: aligning guidance from practice to the standards of high quality research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 11(5), 877-878.