The Perils of Case Studies
Some thoughts on the value - or lack of it - of case studies. And why using applied foresight can't be reduced to a single case.
This post is in three parts and it's a long read. Just so you know.
I am becoming a follower of the learning by doing approach. In a past life, I believed I learned best by reading and reflecting. If I wanted to see a practical example, I would try it in practice at work (or more realistically, I'd inflict it on my staff), or I would seek out an example sourced from an internet search. It never occurred to me to ask my teachers for a case study or an example - as far as I can remember anyway. I always thought that it was my job to work out how to use the process. I thought then and still do that any process needs to be applied in context to test its validity and usefulness.
Whenever I did a presentation or worked with small groups doing training in foresight methods, I was usually asked for a case study or an example. I usually resist, and then the people in the room resist back. The last time this happened, their resistance was strong and one person said something like well, in m…