The complexity of contemporary problems and those we are likely to face in the future compels us to use the best possible methods available. Fortunately, there is a rich legacy of such methods. Our challenge today is to preserve and enrich this legacy. In the spirit of this challenge, the Circle for Prospective Action (CPA), 3IE (Institute of Computer Science and Innovation for Industries), EPITA (School of Computer Science and Advanced Technologies) and our partners are offering free access to our strategic foresight software and helping to broaden the international scope and prestige of the French school of la prospective.
We are very grateful to our partners. Thanks to their generous support these software tools are now available for download — free-of-charge.
In distributing strategic prospective tools and methods, we take a calculated risk: seeing many people use the hammer without any nails to bang in or move ahead without any experience. To reduce this risk, we suggest rereading the nail’s dream and the hammer’s risk as well as the recommended reference material (see laprospective.fr website for further suggestions).
In futuring or prospective, one must at times be playful, non-conformist, even rebellious, and swim against the tide, but one must also have rigorous methods that are simple enough to be appropriated.
I often remind people of “the nail’s dream and the hammer’s risk”, an image that describes two symmetrical errors to avoid when using strategic prospective tools. The first error is to ignore the existence of the hammer when there is a nail to bang down (the nail’s dream). The second error, just because one knows how to hammer, is to think that every problem is like a nail to hit (the hammer’s risk). All to say that we must distribute tools while discouraging newcomers from using them with no rhyme or reason.
In passing, here is a recommendation for first-time users of these programs. This freely distributed software project represents Euros invested by the PAC plus decades of practice and experience. Using a new method for a new problem is always risky so it may be preferable to call upon the expertise and advice of seasoned professionals like François Bourse and Nathalie Bassaler.
STRATEGIC PROSPECTIVE WORKSHOPS, MICMAC, MACTOR, MORPHOL, SMIC PROB-EXPERT and MULTIPOL software programmes are presently available in French and in English. You can download them for free-of-charge from this site.
By distributing the toolbox for strategic foresight free on the Internet we run the risk, albeit calculated, of inappropriate use. In order to avoid this problem we recommend that all users read the following : “ The nail’s dream and the hammer’s pitfall” as well as the other reference books.
Creating Futures. Scenario Planning as a Strategic Management Tool (by Michel Godet, Economica, 2006) : The book is available entirely free of charge.
Strategic Foresight - La Prospective - Use and Misuse of Scenario Building (by Michel Godet with Philippe Durance and Adam Gerber) : The book is available entirely free of charge.