Driving Forces

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A driving forces is a conceptual tool that help us understand deep trends working in the world, that have an effect on the terrain of your focal issue. Below is an introduction how to determine a driving force:

Determining Driving Forces Observable changes in society, politics, technology, art, etc. are often only the symptoms of more fundamental transformations. For instance, high unemployment is the result of underlying forces in the labour market, which in turn are affected by such factors as the rate of productivity improvement.

Rather than providing an exact definition for these driving forces, we have decided to pursue a more pragmatic approach, which is adopted from quality improvement programs. We start with an observable change and ask "Why?" repeatedly. Where to stop asking "why?" is also a pragmatic matter to be decided by common sense.

It would be naive to expect clear chains of causality. Instead what will emerge is a "web" of interrelated driving forces. This web will also not be static, but rather evolve. Over time new forces will be added, existing ones combined and/or replaced, etc.

Each driving force can be described using a number of attributes:

Name? Name the driving force, it helps to be specific (rather than “Demographics”, call it “The gradual ageing of Europe” to indicate direction of the force) What? A short description of the driving force. Enablers? Factors which strengthen this driving force. Inhibitors? Factors which weaken this driving force. Paradigms? Changes in ways of thinking about the world due to the driving force. Experts? Sources for additional information about this driving force. (if you have found people) Timing? Dates for key milestones in the development of the driving force. Web Resources: Useful resources on the web relating to this force.

I would suggest that each group comes up with at least 10 DFs. One of the easiest ways to do this, is to take a trade publication (i.e. a magazine/website that looks at your issue), look at the articles and start asking “why does this happen?, what creates this item”, and use that to go down the iceberg. Learn as much, and research as much about your issue as you can.

As a next step in class on 21 May Paul shall describe the different ways to go from a driving force to the systems diagram to the scenarios.

I’ve set up a new discussion forum which is much more usable than the past one for adding your driving forces to it. Could you please go to XXX and when you have completed your driving forces and add it to the discussion forums. This is voluntary action for each group to share the driving forces with the rest of the class as the driving forces of the group looking at the broadband communications might be relevant to the group looking at the future of banking. The forum can be accessed on:

A older open driving force database exists on the DTN’s discussion forums for your reference. (http://www.dtn.net/community.html)