Determinants of Change in the Intermountain West
The future operating environment and planning context for the Intermountain West is highly uncertain. Driven by powerful forces including climate, shifting economics, population demography, and technology, (among others), the region is changing in many ways simultaneously. Dynamic interrelationships among these factors means that we cannot ever know what the future will be like with any certainty, and this challenges our ability to set assumptions for long term planning within the region.
Fortunately, there are long-term planning methods that are better suited for situations that are both highly uncertain and complex. In particular, formal scenario planning as developed at Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s has been shown to be useful under such circumstances. As a result, the Western Lands and Communities has initiated a series of projects to promote the adoption of scenario planning techniques. Western Lands and Communities’ first foray into scenario thinking, compiling a list of key determinants of change in the Intermountain West, is the subject of this working paper.