Why are we surprised at surprises? Integrating disruption theory and system analysis with scenario methodology to help identify surprises, disruptions and discontinuities

G. Burt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)


    The scenario literature has limited discussion on the process of identifying the systemic conditions that could create disruption and/or discontinuity. This paper focuses on the integration of Christensen's theory of disruption and system analysis with the scenario methodology to develop a framework that provides an understanding of the underlying systemic conditions that create disruption and/or discontinuity. The framework is developed from a recent scenario case study to show the process of integrating these three theories and approaches. The case study reveals the systemic conditions inherent in the UK energy industry and how these conditions may portend discontinuity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)731-749
    Number of pages18
    JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


    • scenarios
    • disruption
    • discontinuity
    • predetermined elements
    • system-in-use
    • system analysis
    • systemic lock-in
    • resource dependency

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