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CIB - Cross-impact balance analysis

About CIB

The cross-impact balance analysis (CIB) is a method for analysing impact networks. The method uses qualitative insights into the relations between the factors of an impact network in order to construct consistent images of the network behaviour. The CIB method is based on

  • a discipline independent, qualitatively oriented concept of analysis which promotes the application of the method in interdisciplinary problems;

  • an expert discourse approach which allows to collect, organize and to judge broad (as well as dissenting) expert knowledge to complex, multidisciplinary topics in a structured way;

  • a proven algorithm for the evaluation of the collected information and for conducting a qualitative system analysis.

ZIRIUS supports the application of the CIB method by scientists, companies, or administrations through advice, cooperation, and various materials. ZIRN has long-time experiences in CIB method research, development, and practical applications.

Purpose of the CIB method

A typical application field of CIB is scenario analysis. The construction of scenarios frequently requires the examination of developments in many different fields (e.g. economic, political, social or technological developments). Within different fields often exist well established ideas about the possible developments (e.g. in the form of a favourable, middle and unfavourable forecast variant). However, the development of holistic scenarios requires to identify which combinations of these variants are promoted by the net of their interrelations. This systemic synthesis of isolated information to an overall picture in the context of a scenario analysis can be carried out with the help of CIB.

General information about cross-impact methods

CIB is a special form of cross-impact analysis. Several variants of cross-impact analysis have been used for the analysis of multidisciplinary systems for almost 40 years. They provide a number of structured processes for deducting plausible future developments in form of rough scenarios and are based on expert judgements about systemic interactions. Cross-impact methods are mostly used for analytical tasks which do not allow the use of theory-based computational models due to their disciplinary heterogeneity and the relevance of "soft" system knowledge, but on the other hand are too complex for a purely argumentative systems analysis. CIB is a modern form of cross-impact analysis. It is characterized by an easy-to-understand procedure, transparency, and high flexibility in application and evaluation.

The purpose of the CIB homepage

This site offers information on the CIB method and its application. The site supports the method's application through a number of tools and materials. The site contains:

- Brief information on the basics of the method. (1, 2)
- References for a more in depth study of the method.
- Guidelines providing assistance for the implementation of the method.
- Software to execute the evaluation algorithm of CIB.

Version 4.31 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

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