Imaginative Scenario Planning Toolkit

Cover of Imaginative Scenario Planning toolkit

A toolkit for practising with uncertain security futures.

How can we anticipate and counter the diversity of forms in which such abstract and broad security threats as terrorism, cybercrime, organised crime and financial crime present themselves in our future?

Imaginative Scenario Planning Toolkit
Click here to download this toolkit.

This toolkit, by Professor Math Noortmann, Professor Juliette Koning, Dr Joost Vervoort and Dr Ingrid Hoofd, gives a step-by-step guide in becoming familiar with scenario planning techniques to help engage with these questions.

The problem with prediction

There are inherent problems that arise from using prediction as a strategy for determining how to mitigate future threats. Whilst success may be found predicting trends on a short-term basis, mid and long-term events are contingent on many interacting factors and prediction therefore becomes unreliable.

Alternative: scenario planning

Scenario planning offers an alternative solution to this issue. The usefulness of the technique is not dependent on the likelihood of the scenarios coming true, but the opportunity for security and law enforcement organisations to set flexible strategies to deal with them. It is the development of a flexible response that marks the success of this technique.

The toolkit

The toolkit and an underlying report (found here) have been produced from the ‘Imaginative Scenario Planning for Law Enforcement Organisations‘ project, funded by CREST. It is a step-by-step guide to assist security and law enforcement officers in becoming familiar with scenario planning techniques.

The research from this project indicates that multiple future scenario planning is not widely practiced in law enforcement organisations. Instead, operational and tactical planning dominates policy and management.

Those organisations that can devote resources to focusing on future trends, tend to develop strategies based on past trends.

The scenario planning approach

The scenario planning approach offers an accessible alternative to the more established prediction thinking to enhance the capacity of organisations to detect, anticipate and mitigate future security threats.

By following the steps in this toolkit officers will be able to:

  1. Imagine a variety of possible unknown future security threat scenarios;
  2. Undertake a holistic analysis of those possible scenarios;
  3. Strategically plan for the inconceivable.
Imaginative Scenario Planning Toolkit
Click here to download this toolkit.

This toolkit has been designed as a practical guide for managers and officers who are otherwise unfamiliar with scenario planning techniques.

It can also be used by subject matter experts or training professionals within a workshop setting.

Download the full toolkit here:

For those officers who require a more in-depth understanding of the research and subject, the report compliments the full research report which can be accessed here:

This toolkit is a product from the ‘Imaginative Scenario Planning for Law Enforcement Organisations‘ project, led by Professor Math Noortmann and Professor Juliette Koning.
The project was funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats.
You can read more about the project here.

This report is produced under a Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC-SA licence. For more information on how you can use our content read our copyright page.