What you can find on this page:

  1. How do I access the ParEvo app
  2. The ParEvo workflow – for a quick overview
  3. How to run a ParEvo exercise: A pdf document
  4. What do these different words mean? A glossary
  5. Videos and podcast about ParEvo
  6. Detailed guidance for Facilitators and Participants
  7. Design and response choices available to Facilitators and Participants
  8. Suggested questions for use in a post-exercise survey
  9. The privacy policy

1. How do I access the ParEvo app?

Go to:

To apply to be a Facilitator (one who organises their own ParEvo exercises) fill in the Facilitator Application form that can be found in the center panel

If you have been invited to participate in a ParEvo exercise, by a registered Facilitator, use the Login  form on the top right

2. The ParEvo workflow – an overview

As seen by an exercise Facilitator…

Click on this image to enlarge

3. How to run a ParEvo exercise

Guidance for Facilitators is available as a pdf document. This document is frequently updated, but may not always be as up to date as it should be. If you have any queries re its current content, email:

4. What do these different words mean?

  • Scenarios: These are “…defined broadly as an internally consistent description of a plausible or possible future state of a system (e.g. a country, a society, a group, a location)” Also described as a storyline within ParEvo.
  • Exercise: A complete ParEvo scenario planning process, involving a number of iterations
  • Iteration: The repetition of a short sequence of events in a ParEvo exercise.
    • Participants view all participants’ Contributions made in the previous iteration
    • Participants add a new Contribution to their most preferred storyline
    • All new Contributions are then made visible to all participants
    • Participants Comment on any of these contributions, as they choose
  • Storyline: A sequence of text Contributions that spell out what happens over a period of time. Also known as a scenario.
  • Seed: The first text, being the starting point of a number of storylines in a ParEvo exercise. Usually provided by the Facilitator
  • Contribution: The text that participants choose to add to an existing storyline. This will usually have a size limit
  • Comment: As in blog comments, an opinion expressed about a storyline, or specific contribution to a storyline
  • Evaluation: The final stage of the exercise, when participants can assess the surviving stories on multiple criteria
  • Facilitator: The person initiating a ParEvo exercise, choosing who will participate and managing the whole process, from beginning to end
  • Participant: The persons who are developing the storylines, by adding new text to existing storylines, according to their own preferences. Participants can be Contributors and or Commentators
  • Administrator: The person who authorises Facilitators to use ParEvo and who controls the available settings. The Administrator can also provide technical support to Facilitators.
  • Observers:Those who have access to view an ParEvo exercise but no capacity to add or edit any content there
  • Forecasting: Open ended exploration of what might happen in the future. Only the present is pre-defined (by the seed text)
  • Backcasting: Exploration of the different ways a specific event in the future might happen, given where we are at present. An expected end state is predefined by the Facilitator.

5. Videos and podcast about ParEvo

EES Evaluation Conference 2021:Evaluating Alternate Futures – Why Do So And How Can It Be Done?, September 2021, 26 minutes

ParEvo in 2 minutes, September 2021

UK Evaluation Society 2021 Conference presentation: On the Evaluation of Alternative FuturesMay 2021, 27  minutes

International Civil Society Centre webinar: Scanning the Horizon methods workshop: ParEvo, May 2021  1 hour 45 minutes. Includes a Q&A session.

UK Evaluation Society webinar: Evaluating the Future, 3rd February 2021
pw: b4y9Wr02   32 minutes

European Union – Evaluation Support Services unit podcastEvaluating the Future, 25 minutes.

And an associated pdf.

ParEvo website training video: An introduction to ParEvo. 12 minutes, published March 2020  12 minutes

Q&A sessions online with Rick Davies

Topic: Q & A session re ParEvo with Rick Davies on Zoom  Start Time  Apr 15, 2020 04:30 PM

Topic: Q & A session re ParEvo with Rick Davies on Zoom
Start Time : Apr 15, 2020 04:30 PM


6. Detailed guidance for Facilitators and Participants

Some suggestions for Facilitators

When a Facilitator invites participants to take part in a ParEvo exercise they should ensure that each participant has read the Privacy policy and the Limitation of Liability statement

In each ParEvo exercise, and in each iteration of an exercise, the Facilitator will provide guidance to the participants in the text panel at the top of the exercise page. In recent exercises that guidance has appeared in two forms:

  1. Guidance about the purpose of the overall exercise, followed by guidance on the desired focus of the current iteration
  2. Generic advice to participants about how they should write their contributions. This advice includes both practical ethical considerations.

1. Exercise and Iteration-specific guidance

  1. Make it clear what number iteration is now underway.
  2. Update the guidance at each stage of the exercise: at the start of each new iteration and at the evaluation stage.
  3. Copy the same guidance information in any emails being sent to participants. At the very least be careful that the contents of those emails do not conflict with the guidance information provided on the ParEvo exercise page
  4. If appropriate, state the time period covered by the current iteration. For example, “In this study, we are asking participants to help build multiple storylines about what might happen in the USA following the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, as President of the United States. The study will involve eight iterations of storyline development, covering eight 3-month periods of time, from early 2012 to the end of 2022. Each one of these will constitute a separate study.
  5. . At the beginning provide clear guidance on the expected scope of the contents; For example: “The focus should be on the USA but may include references to events elsewhere in the world. Although the focus could be on events on any scale (individual, community, city, state, country), the events should be ones which you think have some wider relevance to the country as a whole, – if not in the present then perhaps in the future. The events may be political, economic, social, cultural, ecological, biological, physical, etc, and any combinations thereof…”
  6. Provide short encouraging feedback on contributions made in the last iteration
  7. Clarify any areas of contents where more attention would be appreciated in this current iteration
  8. You may also want to comment on the expected style: Do you want to read like a documentary or a character focused novel, or….Different “genres” will be relevant to different exercise settings.

2. Standard guidance on contribution contents

This section will list examples of the second type of guidance that have been given so far, as a prompt for Facilitators to think about using in their forthcoming exercise. Obviously some of these will need editing to fit the details of a specific exercise. For example the number of hours available to complete an iteration or the desired length of a contribution.

  1. You have X hours to complete this iteration.
  2. Please limited yourself to 150 words per contribution. this can be in one or more paragraphs. Try to make use of the full 150 words allowed
  3. Write chronologically. This will make it easier for other contributors to follow the thread of the story.
  4. Please write in the past tense, as if the events has already taken place, and you are recounting the events to another person.
  5. Remember that we are trying to describe what can happen, not what should happen or only what we would have liked to see happen.
  6. If at all possible, make it clear when and where events happened, and who (individuals or organisations) were involved, rather than simply describing general changes and trends. This will increase the readers’ interest and may increase the plausibility of the events described.
  7. Don’t accidentally disclose your identity; we want the authors of all contributions to remain anonymous.
  8. Don’t write in the first person singular: “I did this…” Keep yourself separate from what you are describing. The authors voice should try to remain neutral in tone, even when describing events that actors in the storyline find horrifying or delightful.
  9. Please bear in mind this is intended as a serious exercise. Therefore, PLEASE avoid humour, sarcasm, irony, rhetoric, exaggeration or fantasy.
  10. Take care not to accidentally introduce inconsistencies into the overall storyline by describing things within your contribution that don’t make sense as possibilities given what has been happening earlier in the storyline.
  11. Facilitators will review all content before publication. Where necessary, contributors may be asked to edit their contributions to align with the rules mentioned above.
  12. After each iteration other people (commentators) may be asked to comment on your contributions to the stories. Their role will be to stimulate (but not to direct) the exercise.
  13. At the end of the exercise, we will ask you (and a selection of stakeholders from the different categories) to evaluate the surviving storylines regarding their probability and desirability, and possibly other attributes.

7. Design and response choices available to Facilitators and Participants

I am a Facilitator, what can I do?

  1. Define the objectives of a ParEvo exercise
  2. Invite people to participate in a ParEvo exercise
  3. Draft a code of conduct appropriate to the purpose of the exercise
  4. Write the Seed text that starts a ParEvo exercise
  5. Invite participants to take part in the first iteration, where they add a text to the seed, describing what they think happens next
  6. Include a description of the imagined or factual context for this exercise
  7. Describe other important features of this exercise, which participants need to be aware of, and which can relate to points below
  8. Define how many iterations will be completed, or leave this undefined
  9. Define whether an iteration refers to a specific time period, or not
  10. Define the maximum length of any contribution or comment
  11. Delete, but not edit, any contributions or comments that breach the code of conduct
  12. Notify participants of when each subsequent iteration is opening and closing
  13. And when participants need to make their contributions or comments
  14. Set the criteria to be used in the evaluation of storylines
  15. Define who can participate in the Comment stage, and/or the Evaluation stage

I am a Participant, what can I do?

  1. Agree to behavior expectations spelled out by the facilitator, prior to participating in an exercise
  2. Make one contribution per iteration, extending the story-line of your choice
  3. After all participants have made a contribution during a given iteration, you can comment on any of the contributions
  4. Given you overall assessment of all the surviving story-lines, during the Evaluation stage
  5. View all other participants’ evaluations (anonymised)
  6. Download a copy of all the story-lines and comments, and evaluation results
  7. Apply to be a Facilitator of other ParEvo exercises

8. Suggested questions for use in a post-exercise survey

For an overview of the evaluation stage of a ParEvo exercise, go here.

The purpose of this page is to provide a list of types of questions that might be asked in a survey of people’s views of the storylines generated by a ParEvo exercise. Please treat this list as a flexible menu, not as a complete and necessary package

The respondents

Firstly, bear in mind that there may be at least three different kinds of survey respondents, and the membership of these types may overlap to different degrees in different exercises.

  1. Contributors, people who contributed paragraphs to the storylines
  2. Commentators, people who commented on various paragraphs within the different storylines. These comments were then made visible next to those paragraphs
  3. Observers, people who could view the storylines and comments, but could not leave any comments or contribute any paragraphs

2021 07 15: Up to now most of the questions listed below have been written assuming the respondent was a contributor, clearly there is need for more diversity yet. I also seem to have assumed that an evaluation will be done via an online survey, which is clearly not the only option. More work needs to be done on this menu!

Types of questions

  1. Questions about specific storylines
    1. Closed ended questions
      1. Which surviving storyline do you think was:
        1. most likely, least likely,
        2. most desirable, least desirable,
        3. most equitable, least equitable,
        4. most sustainable, least sustainable.
      2. Which extinct storyline do you think had the most undeveloped potential?
    2. Open ended questions
      1. What is the most significant difference between the storylines”
      2. What difference has or will this difference make?
  2. Questions abut the whole set of storylines
    1. Surprise
      1. What was most surprising about the content that was present, in any of the storylines?
      2. What was most surprising in terms of its absence from any storylines?
    2. Agency
      1. How much do you think the events in the storyline are likely to affect your life?
      2. How much do think you will be able to affect the events described in the storylines?
    3. Sentiment
      1. Looking at all the surviving storylines, do you think that on balance they were: too optimistic, too pessimistic, about right?
  3. Questions about participant’s judgements versus that of others
    1. Other people’s behavior
      1. How did you feel when two or more others added their contributions on to any contribution of yours?
      2. How did you feel if and when nobody added any contributions on to a contribution of yours?
    2. Optimism
      1. How optimistic were your contributions?
      2. How optimistic were the contributions made by others?
  4. Questions about the design of this ParEvo exercise
    1. Were there too many/too few iterations?
    2. Was the time available during each iteration too long/too short?
    3. Was the guidance given at the start of each iteration clear?
    4. Overall, was the whole exercise: enjoyable, hard work, confusing, informative, fun, exciting, depressing…
    5. As a reader was the 150 word limit per contribution too long or too short or neither?
    6. As a writer, was the 150 word limit per contribution too long or too short or neither?
  5. Questions about consequences for what happens next, after the exercise
    1. Prospective
      1. Will you be doing anything about any of the potential risks highlighted by the storylines? (=likely but undesirable events)
      2. Will you be doing anything about any of the potential opportunities highlighted by the storylines? (=unlikely but desirable events)
      3. What sort of changes might there be in the way you will be doing things, that have been prompted in any way by your participation in the exercise?
    2. Retrospective
      1. What has been the most significant change that has taken place since the ParEvo exercise, which was influenced, triggered or caused by your participation in the exercise?

9. The privacy policy

Updated: 2019 11 08

What information will you need to provide?

To access and use this website Facilitators) will need to register with the website. You will be asked for:

  • your name and email address
  • Telephone or Skype
  • Organisation affiliation
  • Details of exercise

Participants will be asked to register, by a Facilitator. They will need to provide their name, email address and to choose a password

Who will have access to this information?

  • All participants and facilitators information will be stored on the ParEvo website
  • Access to that website is only available to participants authorised by facilitators and facilitators authorised by the administrator.
    • To gain access they will need, and be provided with, a username and password
    • Participants can change their password
    • Participants can have their names and email addresses removed from the website, via request to their facilitator(s)
  • Participants will ONLY have (name and email) information about the facilitator(s) of exercise(s) they participate in.
    • They will not have this information about the other participants, unless this provided by the Facilitator, who must have permission from those other participants
  • Each facilitator will ONLY [check] have access to the name and email addresses of participant’s in the exercises they design and facilitate.
    • All Facilitators will only have access the ParEvo website if they have been, and remain, authorised by the Administrator.
  • The site administrator will have access to ALL the above information, about facilitators and participants

How will your information be used?

  • By the Facilitator to communicate with participants about how and when they need to participate in any exercise, and to track their actual participation.
  • By the Facilitator and Administrator to analyse patterns of participation in any exercise and across multiple exercises.
    • While these analyses may be shared with other parties this will not be done in a way that discloses the identity of individual participants

What will not happen?

  • No information about identifiable individuals will be sold or rented to anyone
  • Email addresses will not be used for communication purposes other than those relating to the purpose of the website

Complaints and concerns and suggestions

  • These should be made to the relevant facilitator in the first instance
  • Then, if needed, to the ParEvo site administrator:

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