Strategic analysis adaptation assessment: an alternative to the economic storyline scenario
Scenarios of future trends are widely used by government and international agencies to inform decision-making. Story line scenarios usually assume a continued growth in energy demand projected from historical trends. If the future energy resource or related resource such as water or rare-earth minerals are constrained, then the story line scenario is not effective at informing engineering research, innovation and design. Story line scenarios also add very little to the understanding of sustainability, as the underlying assumption of continued demand growth is inherently unsustainable. This paper presents a strategic analysis approach to complex systems, which relies on identification of risks to energy systems, important activities and wellbeing. The risk information is used to frame a forward operating environment. This method mimics the actual processes of anthropogenic continuity, where people explore, experiment, learn from success and mistakes, and adapt to new circumstances. The method is applied to the case study of transportation fuel supply in New Zealand. Directions for immediate strategic engineering research and innovation are clear outcomes of the analysis.