Exploratory Modeling and Analysis, an approach for model-based foresight under deep uncertainty
Exploratory Modeling and Analysis (EMA) is an approach that uses computational experiments to analyze complex and uncertain issues. It has been developed mainly for model-based decision support. This paper investigates the extent to which EMA is a promising approach for future oriented technology analysis (FTA). We report on three applications of EMA, using different modeling approaches, in three different technical domains. In the first case, EMA is combined with System Dynamics (SD) to study plausible dynamics for mineral and metal scarcity. The main purpose of this combination of EMA and SD is to gain insight into what kinds of surprising dynamics can occur given a variety of uncertainties and a basic understanding of the system. In the second case, EMA is combined with a hybrid model for airport performance calculations to develop an adaptive strategic plan. This case shows how one can iteratively improve a strategic plan through the identification of plausible external conditions that would cause the plan to perform poorly. In the final case, EMA is combined with an agent-based model to study transition dynamics in the electricity sector and identify crucial factors that positively and negatively affect a transition towards more sustainable functioning of the electricity sector. This paper concludes that EMA is useful for generating foresights and studying systemic and structural transformations despite the presence of a plethora of uncertainties, and for designing robust policies and plans, which are key activities of FTA.