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The IMCORE project ran from 2008 to 2011 and was funded under the EU Interreg IVB programme.

VIDEO: The Couplet Node from Cork Harbour shrre their insights on the benefits of working together

 "If we were to undertake the scenario phase of the adaptation strategy process again, we would conduct it in a much more condensed and intensive way".                 Cork Harbour Case Study

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guidance2If we were to undertake the scenario phase of the adaptation strategy formulation process again, we would conduct it in a much more condensed and intensive way. We struggled to arrange plenary meetings within the timeframe we'd have preferred, due to the fact that our stakeholders occupy high level positions in their various sectors and their busy schedules make finding mutually agreeable dates and times to meet very difficult. It might therefore be of greater value to opt for a smaller, more focused group of stakeholders among whom meetings might be more easily arranged.

Opting for this approach might have another benefit. A smaller group diminishes the scope for dissociation with the eventual outputs of the scenario process, an issue that was encountered to some degree in the work we carried out. This is a consequence of the difficulty of incorporating a plethora of different views into a single scenario while maintaining its internal coherence and validity. In theses circumstances, those whose views are not represented in their entirety, or in a modified form, can often find it difficult to recognize the final scenarios outputs as a legitimate product of a process in which they were involved.

 

 

Exploratory Scenario Development Workshop
What we did

We invited 15 key stakeholders in the management of Cork Harbour, including local authority planners, Port authorities, business representatives, Irish Naval Service and members of the research community, to participate in a facilitated scenario driver workshop. We chose to utilise the PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental) categories as a framework of driver elicitation. The workshop was hosted by one of our Expert Couplet partners at a venue which we thought suitably inspirational; a Chart Room at the National Maritime College of Ireland which offered panoramic views of the lower reaches of the Harbour.

Why we did it

The prior Issues Workshop highlighted substantial concerns among our stakeholders regarding the management of flooding in Cork Harbour. To address these concerns, we decided to use the exploratory 'scenario axes' methodology to develop narrative scenarios of change focussed on the management of flooding in Cork Harbour to 2030. The aim of this workshop was therefore to identify what our stakeholders considered to be the key drivers of change regarding flood management in Cork Harbour at present and in the future.

What we achieved We successfully elicited from our stakeholders what they considered to be the most important drivers of change affecting flood management in Cork Harbour. We also fostered considerable momentum and support for the scenario process among our stakeholder group.
Problems we had We held a practice exercise prior to our scheduled workshop and found the process of driver elicitation and scenario axes selection to be a little confusing. We also found it difficult to schedule a workshop with so many high level participants due to the time constraints they work under.
Solutions

To overcome the problems we'd encountered in rehearsing the event we decided to try to make the process simpler and more intuitive. We pre-prepared a number of A2 size flip chart templates that helped to illustrate visually what the workshop sought to achieve – the identification of drivers of change and subsequently their ranking in terms of certainty and significance. We also decided to call a halt to the workshop prior to the point where scenario axes are selected, which served to save our stakeholders from deliberating over a step in the methodology that had proven confusing during our rehearsal, and also cut the amount of time we would need with our busy and time-poor participants. We decided to instead complete scenario axes selection 'in-house' among the Expert Couplet Node members.

What we learned

We believe that practice of the workshop process is vital, and that making sure workshop facilitators are familiar and comfortable with the process is an essential ingredient in successful scenario facilitation. We recommend having an observer to take notes, allowing the facilitators to focus on the comments and workshop process. Similarly, the use of templates for the PESTLE process saves time and makes the process clearer to workshop participants.

 

Developing Exploratory Scenario Narratives 
What we did

Following the workshop, we identified the drivers of change considered most significant and uncertain by our stakeholders and used them as 'axes of polarity' around which we could develop 4 exploratory future scenarios. The axes which provided this scenario framework were 'Economic Vision' and 'Attitude to Climate Science'. We then plotted our drivers where they most appropriately fitted into our axes, creating four coherent narratives from each of the quadrants of the plot.

Why we did it

We developed the scenarios and their narratives in order to explore potentially plausible developments with a bearing on flood management in Cork Harbour to 2030. We then hoped to use the scenarios as a test environment for our adaptation strategy; if the strategy performed well under all scenarios we could consider it to be robust to future eventualities.

What we achieved

We compiled the scenario axes graph and the narratives which accompanied it into a Draft Scenario Report which was circulated to the all members of the Planning Future Scenarios Working Group.

Problems we had

There was perhaps a degree of confusion among our stakeholders as to what the optimum outcome of the exercise was. Some participants were unconvinced of the merit of creating a range of equally plausible scenarios, and instead would have preferred us to create a single, 'most probable' scenario. This was perhaps an error on our part in failing to adequately communicate the nature of the exploratory scenario methodology, and the value of employing it in the way that we did.

Solutions (if any)

In response to feedback from our stakeholder group regarding the four scenarios presented it was decided that a fifth scenario be developed by the Expert Couplet. This scenario drew on the most desirable elements of the four potentially plausible futures generated by the exploratory scenario workshop, combining them into one internally coherent vision. This idealised future vision of flood management in Cork Harbour would serve as a normative goal which the remaining steps of the adaptation strategy formulation process could aim to fulfil.

What we learned

We found that it is very important to account for and to an extent 'manage' the expectations of participants – do not assume that all share your understanding of what the scenario process is for and what it's outputs will be. With hindsight, it would also perhaps have been useful to have an additional workshop / session to work up the four scenarios into the fifth scenario with the stakeholders, allowing a greater degree of ownership of the fifth scenario on the part of the stakeholders concerned.

 

 

Click here to download IMCORE scenario workshop presentation

Click here to download flood management scenarios

Click here to download Visulalization workshop

This learning portal brings together the results and lessons learned from the IMCORE project. This project was funded under the Interreg IVB programme from 2008 to 2011.

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