HC2020 4 Alternative Scenarios
What could health and health care in the US look like in 2020?
Four Alternative Futures Scenarios
At the Institute for the Future, we use many methods to help people think about the future. For the HC2020 project we used the Alternative Futures method developed by Jim Dator at the Hawaii Research Center of Futures Studies, which charts four different directions of future change. We then developed four internally consistent worlds based on those 'shapes' of the future to better understand future directions of change in health and health care. While these shapes describe the whole system of society, we can think about how these play out at different scales: for people, for organizations, and for the system as a whole.
These four “archetypes” are:
A future that manifests the results of current trends and conditions, extrapolated forward. This includes both positive and negative growth. Continued economic growth is the basis for the “official” view of the future held by most governments and organizations.
See our Growth scenario for health and healthcare in the United states in 2020:
A future in which a core guiding value or purpose is used to organize society and control behavior. For example, if continued economic growth inevitably leads to collapse, then mandating changes to the system and putting limitations on certain kinds of human behavior (discipline) is a proposed solution. China’s one-child policy is an example of a discipline solution to population growth.
See our Discipline scenario video for health and healthcare in the United states in 2020:
A future in which major social systems are strained beyond the breaking point, causing system collapse and social disarray. Human organization returns to basic needs in order to rebuild. Global environmental collapse due to increased atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide levels is one example.
See our Collapse scenario video for health and healthcare in the United states in 2020:
A fundamental reorganization of a society or system that signals a break from previous systems. The shift from nomadic hunter-gathering societies to stable, hierarchical agricultural societies was one of the most profound transformations in human history. Greater-than-human machine intelligence, and the revolution this would entail, is a popular transformation scenario.
See our Transformation scenario video for health and healthcare in the United states in 2020:
Use these glimpses into four scenarios to stretch your imagination about the possibilities of change. They work better together, so try to watch more than one. Then, think about how these scenarios are unfolding today.