David Odeh can’t help but chuckle at the irony inherent in his statement.
“The one thing we can say with certainty,” Odeh says, “is that whatever future scenario we predict, that scenario will not be the future.”
Odeh, a technical region director on the ASCE Board of Direction, is referring to Future World Vision, ASCE’s bold, comprehensive scenario-planning tool that helps civil engineers strategize for an uncertain future. In his laugh, he’s aware that he’s essentially just said that Future World Vision provides projections under the premise that precise predictions aren’t possible. Which, yes, is exactly what it is.
“Scenario planning is not intended to be right or wrong, in a deterministic sense,” Odeh continues, clarifying his point. “However, if we use what we know about the way different trends interact with each other, we can identify and prepare for a variety of different outcomes. It gives us great insights as leaders and innovators in civil engineering into what some of the commonalities are in those future outcomes and how our designs can evolve to adapt to or accommodate a wide variety of potential futures.”
In a new series, ASCE News explores Future World Vision, highlighting the key trends that will shape those potential outcomes and shining a spotlight on civil engineers already working at the forefront of tomorrow today. Read more: