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The CIB algorithm (4/4)

Consistent scenarios

In the example "Somewhereland" 3*3*3*2*3*3 = 486 possible scenarios exist. Checking all scenarios in the way shown in Fig. 3 reveals that only ten scenarios are free of internal inconsistencies. The consistent scenarios are:

1) [ A3 B1 C3 D2 E1 F1 ]
2) [ A3 B2 C3 D2 E1 F1 ]
3) [ A2 B1 C3 D2 E2 F1 ]
4) [ A2 B2 C3 D2 E2 F1 ]
5) [ A3 B1 C2 D1 E1 F2 ]
6) [ A1 B2 C2 D1 E1 F2 ]
7) [ A3 B2 C2 D1 E1 F2 ]
8) [ A1 B3 C2 D1 E1 F2 ]
9) [ A1 B3 C2 D1 E1 F3 ]
10) [ A1 B3 C1 D2 E3 F3 ]

The consistent scenarios indicate a broad variety of possible developments of "Somewhereland". This is illustrated by a closer look at e.g. scenario no. 3 and scenario no. 10.
Scenario no. 3
"Prosperity in a divided society"

  A2. Government: "Prosperity party"
  B1. Foreign policy: Cooperation
  C3. Economy: Dynamic
  D2. Distribution of wealth: Strong contrasts
  E2. Social cohesion: Tensions
  F1. Social values: Meritocratic

Scenario no. 10
"Society in crisis"

  A1. Government: "Patriots party"
  B3. Foreign policy: Conflict
  C1. Economy: Shrinking
  D2. Distribution of wealth: Strong contrasts
  E3. Social cohesion: Riots
  F3. Social values: Family
Both scenarios consist of a coherent assumption bundle yet they describe quite different pictures of "Somewhereland".

The remaining consistent scenarios describe further directions in which "Somewhereland" might develop. The consistency of scenario no. 10 is demonstrated in Fig. 4. All arrows of the row "Scenario assumptions" mark the states of maximum impact score in the respective impact balance and coincide with the arrows in the row "Maximum", therefore. The state of each descriptor reflects the sum of all influences which are caused by the other descriptors. In the case of contradictory influences the stronger influences are decisive.

Fig 4

For small matrices like "Somewhereland" it is possible to guess some consistent scenarios without the use of CIB or any other mathematical approach (although guessing may overlook some meaningful scenarios). For matrices with a larger number of descriptors it is impossible to cope mentally with the complexity of numerous mutual influences. Moreover there exists too many possible scenarios to be checked by hand. Even in the case of our example with 486 scenarios this would be a laborious task. A systematic exploration of the configuration space and the identification of the complete set of consistent scenarios requires the support of an appropriate software.
Nonetheless it is possible and instructive to test the validity of the resulting scenarios or the inconsistency of a rejected scenario manually by the procedure shown in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4. The possibility to test the computer calculations in an easy and understandable way can considerably enhance the credibility of the analysis results in the eyes of the involved persons and the users of the analysis.

It should be stressed that the application of CIB is not restricted to the problem of the development of societies, which is used here only as an example. Typical descriptors in CIB application practice concern policy decisions, business strategies, environmental, social or technological changes and others.

A detailed description and additional information offers Guideline No. 1

Version 4.2 of the free CIB software ScenarioWizard is available now... More
SafeMed, a project analysing potential risks for the pharma supply chain, uses CIB to develop hazard scenarios... More
The Helmholtz Alliance "ENERGY-TRANS" studies the interplay between technological and societal aspects of the energy transition in Germany. ZIRIUS develops societal scenarios using the CIB method... More
The German-Peruvian project LiWa aims at strategies to cope with the threats of climate change to the water supply of Lima. The project's integrative scenarios are developed using the CIB method... More
The archive provides a compilation of older notes on CIB projects and publications... More