Discovering Drivers And Assumptions With The STEEP Methodology

No need to read the tea leaves or look into the crystal ball. The future is surprisingly well forecastable. When we identify signals and trends, and can see building blocks, and combine them with drivers, assumptions and motivations, they can help create convincing and interesting scenarios that help us make better decisions today.

One of these methodologies is called STEEP, short for Social, Technological, Economical, Ecological, and Political drivers and assumptions. Teams in a the foresight workgroup would list and prioritize them. The prioritization is based on two criteria:

  • the degree of impact
  • the degree of uncertainty

The two or three highest ranked drivers and assumptions are then put on the axis in a 2×2 Matrix (for 2 drivers/assumptions) or a 2×3 Matrix (for 3 drivers/assumptions). Around those combinations, either 4 or 8 scenarios are created that should be realistic and surprising at the same time. For each of them we can then look at an action plan, and what it would mean for our organization, if they were to manifest like this.

This way, we have done the mental exercise through such a scenario, and are able to make better decisions about the future today.

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