Scenario Matrix

Scenario Matrix is a tool used to construct and describe scenarios in unpredictable situations. It builds and visualizes scenarios based on key uncertainties and is complemented by other tools that are part of scenario building and planning. It includes identifying four scenarios, two critical uncertainties, an influence diagram, and a fact sheet.

Common uses of Scenario Matrix scanning include:

  • To design and describe scenarios on the basis of key uncertainties.

When to use it?
Frame: As a tool in scenario planning to address uncertain and possibly volatile situations.

How to do it?

  1. Create a list of future uncertainties

  2. Select two critical uncertainties that are most impactful and most uncertain

  3. Identify plausible extremes for the future state of each critical uncertainty

  4. Using the critical uncertainties as axes, plot the four possible scenarios in a 2x2 matrix

  5. Develop narrative explanations for each scenario

Scenario Matrix requires an appropriate level of information to identify four scenarios, and critical uncertainties. From there, to complete a valid matrix a considerable amount of time is needed for those individual involved in the development.

Pros and Cons

  • A logical way to develop scenarios.
  • Provides plausible information for consideration of the future.


  • Requires considerable investment of time and people.
  • Do not guarantee completeness or certainty.



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