Allegedly, an important function of scenario development is the exploration of potential discontinuity. However, there are indications that the approach does not deliver on its promises. This article investigates how discontinuity is addressed in futures literature, particularly those sources that focus on scenarios, and how the concept is used in scenario practice. A literature review reveals a multitude of terms, including wild cards and surprises, from which characteristics of discontinuity in the context of foresight can be derived. Insights from the review help investigate how discontinuity is addressed in contemporary scenario development. The investigation described in this article exposes a rather ambiguous approach to discontinuity in current scenario practice. The article closes with questions regarding scenario method where the investigation of potential discontinuity is concerned.
van Notten, P. W. F., Sleegers, A. M., & van Asselt, M. B. A. (2005). The Future Shocks: On the Role of Discontinuity in Scenario Development. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 72, 175-194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2003.12.003