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List of observations that track your scenarios.

Indicators are pre-determined observations that can be used to track your scenarios. Following these predictive indicators can determine if a scenario is becoming more or less likely.

To create a list of Indicators:

Step 1:  Create a list of indicators for each scenario (see Scenarios Matrix). Good indicators are measurables that are relevant, reliable, and stable over time. Your indicators should provide an objective baseline to track the conditions within each scenario.

Step 2:  Monitor your indicators on a regular basis (i.e. daily, weekly, or monthly).

Analysis of your Indicators:

  • Has there been any changes?
  • Were these changes predicted or unexpected?
  • Are there early warning signs of significant change?
  • Have any new factors been introduced that fundamentally change the situation?
  • Are there any trends developing?
  • Are these trends moving towards a predictable end point?
  • Has there been any developments that point to a particular scenario unfolding?

The best indicators have diagnosticity. In other words, these indicators show that one scenario is more (or less) likely to occur than all of the others. Conversely, if indicators are common to many scenarios then they have less diagnostic power.

Related: See the Indicators Matrix.

Publications icon


Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis, Richards Heuer, Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson, Washington DC: CQ Press, 2011.