After a decade of using the Imen-Delphi (ID) procedure, the objective of this research note is to evaluate its potential for social futures thinking. The paper (a) highlights the changes the ID procedure took that emerged in the course of the procedure's practice, and (b) discusses their benefits and justification for future development and usage of the ID.
The ID procedure was designed based on the foundations of the applied social systems theories (Bahg, 1990; Woudenberg, 1991), and relies upon the strengths of later versions of the Delphi technique (Ranch, 1979; Turoff, 1975; Press, 1983; Harkins and Kurth-Schai, 1983; Poolpatarachewin, 1980). The ID procedure was developed in the early 1990s in order to facilitate discussions among panelists sharing a common future interest, and in order to help them develop shared future images.
The main objective of the ID procedure was to enable a group of panelists to establish a collective future mission, and to efficiently cope with complex problems regarding their future. The ID procedure was geared to promote the responsibility and the self-awareness of the participants towards their probable and preferable futures. The ID procedure, as opposed to the classical Delphi technique, did not direct the participants to foresee future events. Instead, the ID was designed to guide them towards general agreement for future growth. The participants were directed to reach one of the following five types of agreement: total agreement, majority, bipolarity, partial agreement, or total disagreement.
In the last decade, we have been conducting a variety of studies using the ID procedure to engage people to reflect on their collective futures. Many of these studies were published in academic venues and other business management venues (Passig, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999; Passig and Adler, 1998; Gilad, 1999; Passig and Sharbat, 2000, 2001). In this paper we will discuss the procedural variations we have implemented in each of them. The contribution of this paper lies in its attempt to clarify the rationale behind the variations in the procedure that emerged in time. Here, briefly, is a sample of studies and their differences in the procedures. A discussion on the necessity and the potential of the procedure's variations for the future of the ID will follow.
A Future Mission for Communal Services
As opposed to the original ID procedure, in which the panellists didn't know the list of participants, the ID procedure in this study involved people who were familiar with each other, and who used to have similar discussions in various other settings. The procedure, however, forced them to focus their discussions on very defined categories on a tight timetable.
This study (Gilad, 1999), mandated by the Israeli …