Sustaining and Embedding Innovations - wiki JISC Sustaining and Embedding Innovations / Visioning and scenario planning
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Visioning and scenario planning

It is not uncommon for project teams to regard the end of their project as the completion of the pilot/trials of their innovations, the project evaluation and writing of papers, without considering:


(a)  How their innovations will be adopted in their institution (and the sector).

(b)  What will be required to motivate staff and students to adopt the innovations.

(c)  What will be the barriers to embedding the innovations.


A useful technique to help project teams to think beyond the end of the project is a “visioning” exercise – a facilitated workshop that aims to help project teams to:


  • Vision how their innovation will be being used in their institution (and sector) within a set time frame e.g. 3 – 5 years (e.g. Who will be using it in different faculties/schools/departments? What will be the contexts where it is most likely to be used? What is the state of “readiness” of staff/students in order to use it? etc.).
  • What will be the key drivers/motivators that will enable the vision to be achieved (e.g. it could be student need/demand).
  • What will the barriers be to this vision being achieved e.g. Will there be adequate support and resources for academics/teaching staff to implement the innovations? Will some academics/teaching staff need convincing of the rationale to adopt the innovation and will academics need any training?
  • What will the enablers be to achieve the vision e.g. Will the innovation need to be aligned or embedded into institutional strategies, processes and services (such as for curriculum design and quality assurance/enhancement)?


From such a visioning exercise, projects can develop a project sustainability/embedding plan.


A further development of such a visioning exercise is a technique called “scenario planning” – a method for anticipating the future by understanding the nature and impact of various driving forces & creating a series of “different futures”. Scenario planning evolved from uses in corporations such as Shell and is essentially a group process which encourages knowledge exchange, dialogue and widening the participant’s perception of possible future events, particularly where there are complex issues involved.


It can be useful as a technique in relation to embedding innovations where participants in the technique would typically be staff and students within a faculty/school/department.  They would be encouraged to understand institutional/faculty/school/deparmental drivers, changes and trends and to set the adoption of their innovations within the context of these drivers, changes and trends.



JISC infoNet has published guidelines and tools in relation to scenario planning.