Scenario Planning Workshops for Planners: Nisenson Consulting


Nisenson Consulting LLC develops scenario planning workshops to help participants understand the status of smart city technology, create possible and probable scenarios, and identify next steps for their own organizations.

Community Challenge

With fast-changing technology, planners face an unprecedented number of unknowns they must account for in policies, plans and programs.  Traditional forecasting methods are not well suited to cover the research, engagement, consensus building and roadmap to action for staying ahead of technology. 


For the Eno Center for Transportation's 2017 Convergence Conference, Nisenson Consulting co-hosted the final session.  Throughout the conference program, participants were reminded they would apply what they were learning in the final workshop session.  The session was built around the scenario of launching a driverless shuttle in Arlington. Virginia (Crystal City), and how to develop a program that harnessed the benefits of driverless technology while limiting risks.  With this backdrop, session prompts (1) explored potential benefits and risks related to the setting and (2) identified a range of policies, plans and finding mechanisms available to the public and private sector partners.

Insights and Results

Workshop participants gave high marks for the various sessions and the ability to use this type of session in their own organizations. Conference organizers appreciated having a vehicle for participants to apply information gathered during the conference.

The key to success for workshops is (1) providing background information, (2) structuring scenarios around a familiar situation and/or setting, and (3) having participants with a range of knowledge, in particular those with information on how to execute a clearly defined end product, and (4) structuring workshop prompts to feed directly into that product. 


Lisa Nisenson: email 

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