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The future persona: a futures method to let your scenarios come to life

Alessandro Fergnani (Department of Management and Organisation, National University of Singapore Business School, Singapore)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 13 June 2019

Issue publication date: 5 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to formally introduce the future persona, a futures method to let scenarios come to life. A future persona is a scenario-specific fictional individual living in the future scenario (s)he is meant to depict. The paper provides a formal, systematic and clear step-by-step guide on how to create engaging and effective future personas after a scenario planning exercise.

Design/methodology/approach

After having introduced the future persona method, tracing it back to the customer persona method in user centered design (UCD) and differentiating it from previous uses of futures characters in the futures studies literature and in other domains, an example of the creation process of four future personas based on four scenario archetypes of the futures of work is provided, illustrated with pictures and discussed.

Findings

Future personas, with their narratives and graphical illustrations, are found to be particularly useful to convey scenarios to a target audience.

Practical implications

Futures personas can be used in a scenario planning exercise to increase the clarity of scenarios in the mind of scenario planners and to let scenarios be known inside an organization.

Originality/value

Future personas can substantially enrich scenarios, increasing their liveliness, playfulness and empathy.

Keywords

Citation

Fergnani, A. (2019), "The future persona: a futures method to let your scenarios come to life", Foresight, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 445-466. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-10-2018-0086

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited