A scenario analysis is a provocative way to guide students to think about the implications of the Egyptian revolt. The gemstones of scenario analysis are revealed by asking not the traditional “what” but “how.”
Scenario analysis can be complicated to describe, but the steps flow naturally in a group discussion, allowing the students to take the initiative and figure out for themselves how to think about the future.
The basic steps are:
- Select the question: “Where is Egypt headed?”
- Identify the causal factors: desire for civil rights and desire for economic security.
- Draw a grid generating the scenarios. The graph is a useful aid to the real challenge of this step: identifying the likely differences in outcome of each scenario.
- Identify the key dynamic powering each scenario. Much more important than asking what might happen is explaining how your predicted outcome could occur.
- Identify at least one other scenario that would change behavior if it became dominant. Whatever you think will happen, some other invisible dynamic is surely present in the background and needs to be identified to avoid surprise.
- Explain possible tipping points. Ask how a tipping point leading to a shift in dominance might occur.
That process is plenty for two or three one-hour class sessions separated by a day or two for related homework. For further challenge and further realism, the whole system can fruitfully be considered as a complex adaptive system. This provides insight into the underlying evolutionary processes of the whole system within which, in the current case, Egypt exists.