Purpose of the handbook

The handbook was developed as one of the three tasks of the MSP Platform Technical Study ‘MSP as a tool to support a sustainable Blue Economy’ carried out under the European MSP Platform. The Handbook showcases tools and methods from a wide range of initiatives and projects from Europe and beyond to capture the “state of the art” of vision making process. Its purpose is to assist planners in developing their own vision, as well as for preparing the terms of reference for those who will facilitate a vision process.

The intention of the handbook is to indicate a range of possibilities for working with visions, showcasing options and ideas, rather than being prescriptive.

The development of visions can serve as a ‘warm-up’ for an MSP process, encouraging stakeholders to start thinking outside of their sectoral interests, to consider longer time scales and to stimulate questions on “what if?”. A vision process helps to clarify the focus of MSP and may also provide the basis to derive jointly agreed SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) objectives, towards which a MSP process should lead to. Sometimes the joint development of scenarios or a forecast might be used to help to raise awareness of an emerging issue (i.e. climate change).

In visioning a combination of techniques can be used to set out a framework for the future, or to define relevant options. The outputs from vision processes vary greatly, from philosophical and artistic descriptions of the future (broad visions) to presentations of quantified analyses (sectoral scenarios and roadmaps). A process often results with a combination of interlinked formats.