A graphic novel based approach to large scale elicitation of normative future scenarios

Dave Murray-Rust, Joske Houtkamp, Marc Metzger, Inge La Riviere, Marta Pérez-Soba, Anne Jensen, James Paterson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Scenario analysis has emerged as a necessary component of understanding and modelling large scale future developments in socio-political systems. Within scenario work, “Visions” are normative scenarios crafted by stakeholders, and are used to explore desired futures and their implications. Where traditional stakeholder engagement tools such as workshops and focus groups allow the development of visions with small groups of people, widespread connectivity allows engagement with the public at large through crowdsourcing techniques.

Using crowdsourcing methodologies to elicit future desires requires an approach which differs from human computation, collaborative workshop based methods and the standard preference elicitation techniques used in crowdsourcing opinions. Rather than asking “Which of these options do you prefer?” it is necessary to engage participants with the question of “What kind of world would you like to live in?”.

As such, contextualisation of the activity is crucial - participants must be able to think creatively as well as analytically, and the difference between expectation and desire must be made clear.

In this paper we outline the design of a web-based vision development system based on the creation of storyboards for future life stories, targeted at young Europeans. Rather than answer a set of survey questions, participants are asked to graphically imagine a narrative for their future selves, relating to different aspects of their living and working lives. The use of graphical elements aids in both engaging with young people, and easing accessibility for participants of multiple languages. We blend the use of pre-selected images and freeform
text to support both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the visions created. This system is being used in the context of an EU-wide research project which seeks to understand the way our landscapes are changing and how society relates to these changes; as such, it serves a dual purpose as a public
engagement tool as well as a source of scientific data. The tool created is open source, and can be re-purposed for other experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrowdUI 2014
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'A graphic novel based approach to large scale elicitation of normative future scenarios'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this