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I'm an economic researcher and I think that worldbuilding as an exercise could offer some valuable tools to policymakers as they try to imagine possible futures and then design policies which would help shape and incentivize progress towards those ends.

My initial idea was to design a 2-4 hour workshop where each participant would bring a problem from their area of expertise and then leave with some kind of outline which imagines a context where it has been “solved” (or at least adequately addressed), along with a set of strategies or questions to guide them in thinking through the full implications of this new status quo. Of course, after talking to a few people who’ve participated in these kind of workshops it seems clear that it’s a much larger and longer process than I assumed, but I still have to work within narrow time constraints and selling it to people who might consider this frivolous to their work (if they’re not already predisposed to think this sounds fun).

Still, I’m curious to get your feedback on the worldbuilding workshops you have participated in (or resources that you have used in worldbuilding):

  • What are some of the more successful frameworks and engaging approaches that have helped you connect a re-imagined future to the current status quo?
  • Has anyone encountered a packaged thought exercise that that frames and guide this kind of activity which I could adapt to a different audience?
  • What hasn’t been helpful? And what holes do you see in this approach?
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closed as off-topic by Frostfyre, Confounded by beige fish., Arkenstein XII, Nex Terren, Shadowzee Apr 5 at 2:00

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Arkenstein XII, Nex Terren, Shadowzee
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. We normally use the main site for concrete worldbuilding problems, and meta for meta discussion/question. I have the impression that your post might be better addressed to meta. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Apr 3 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ I did as well, but meta suggested I move it over here! $\endgroup$ – kdnav Apr 3 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ WorldbuildingMeta? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Apr 3 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ I've asked on meta where this question should go worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7248/… $\endgroup$ – user42528 Apr 3 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ So essentially what your after is the outline of some sort of crowdsourced think-tank that could be applied to policy-making ~ the bones of the structure & design of such an idea? $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Apr 3 at 17:07
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  • First of all, I for one would very much prefer to believe that policymakers, that is, people who have the power to make and enforce policies, have much better resources at their disposal than a two hour workshop.

    They ought to have an entire apparatus of civil servants with access to modelling tools, they ought to have an entire research department ready to tell them whether such policies have been already tried elsewhere and what their consequences were, they ought to have access to think-tanks more than happy to develop forward-looking whitepapers and so on.

    Especially in the field of economic policies I would surely expect that any policies would be modelled in accordance with various economic frameworks, with the results presented in a set of good-looking graphs and tables, ready to be input in the multicriterial decision method of choice. Economics is supposed to be a science, isn't it?

  • This Stack Exchange site is oriented towards helping with the development of fictional worlds. It's fantasy. It's not the real world. The key aspects of worldbuilding we are interested in are aesthetic beauty, consistency and verisimilitude. While this site does occasionally receive questions tagged "reality-check", some of which have a certain link to real-world economics, and we do try to answer them to the best of our knowledge, I would say that most people on this site would be unhappy to hear that somebody has taken their answers as suggestions for real-world policy making.

These being said, there are of course very many resources to help with kick-starting worldbuilding.

  • If you want to pay some money, there are the Worldbuilding Kits sold by r-n-w. I'm certain that they would be happy to provide a custom quotation for a license to use their materials in workshops and seminars aimed at powerful policymakers. They sell a Worlbuilding Essentials kit, a Monsters and Encouters kit, a Landbuilder kit, a Town and City Builder kit, a People and Society kit, plus a History Pack. It's true that their kits are strongly oriented towards the highly stilized worlds of role-playing games, but hey, they provide fillable forms! Ideal for use by our elected betters.

  • Worldbuilding Kit is a Tumblr site dedicated to collecting ready-made worldbuilding resources; check out, for example, The Rough Copy's summary of worldbuilding resources to be found at Let Me Explain to You a Thing by Clevergirlhelps.

  • One could never omit the splendid Zompist created by Mark Rosenfelder; while admittedly geared mostly towards advertising their language and world construction kits, the site is a joy to peruse.

  • The Dabbler, "SEO Strategy Consultant and Freelance Writer", offers a great Ultimate List of 42 Worldbuilding Resources. Notable is the 30 Days of WorldBuilding step-by-step guide offered by Stephanie Bryant under the Creative Commons BY-NC license.

And finally, if you are interested in worldbuilding professionally you may want to take a look at the The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds by Mark J.P. Wolf (Editor), blurbed as "a definitive and cutting-edge guide to the study of imaginary and virtual worlds across a range of media, including literature, television, film, and games". (The link goes to Amazon; it's not a cheap book.)

There are of course quite a few webinars and online courses to help with worldbuilding; for example, The Building Blocks of Worldbuilding for All Genres OnDemand Webinar at Writer's Digest Shop, or the Worldbuilding in Speculative Fiction online course at Hugo House. Beware, they might be considered expensive.

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  • $\begingroup$ "policymakers, that is, people who have the power to make and enforce policies, have much better resources at their disposal than a two hour workshop" "entire apparatus of civil servants with access to modelling tools" etc ~ in the UK they do have all that & more (can't comment on elsewhere), but around 40 years of paying attention makes it painfully clear all these things have been suborned & perverted into use as tools to provide rationals to help legitimize whatever policies they've already decided on rather than perform as originally intended. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Apr 4 at 22:20

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