The Future Gap: Exploring a Critical Reflective Stakeholder Approach

Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, Ylva Fältholm


The focus of this paper is a participatory design process that is used as a means to enable multiple stakeholders' collaboration in discussing strategies, designs and solutions of a conceptual future factory. The reason for this study is the Swedish industrial sector's difficulty in attracting women and young people. The design process can adapt to various complexities, building on the creative and innovative ability of collaborating people. In the present study, young people participated in explorations of images and perceptions of the current industrial sector and in an inquiry into the needs and preferences of a future factory. This activity resulted in two future scenarios: utopia, a positive future vision, and dystopia, a pessimistic outlook. These scenarios subsequently were used as means for critical reflection with multiple industrial sector stakeholders, exploring the future gap as the discrepancy between the images, perceptions and understanding held by internal stakeholders compared to external stakeholders. In this paper, we propose scenario-based design as one approach to multi-stakeholder activities, both for understanding various stakeholder needs and preferences and for critical reflection on future strategies and visions with a diversity of stakeholders. We believe there is a need for a transformation in the way in which organizations involve and connect to stakeholders.

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Journal of Management and Sustainability   ISSN 1925-4725 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4733 (Online)   E-mail:


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