Cross-Impact Balance Analysis Lab

at the Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS)


Scenarios have evolved as an indispensable tool for future planning in politics, business, administration, and beyond. Between intuition-based scenario methods and mathematical modeling, the field of semi-formalized scenario methods has been established. These methods are particularly suitable for scenario topics for which only qualitative insights into the systemic interrelationships exist, but which are also too complex for mental analysis.

At the CIB-Lab we focus on the Cross-Impact Balance Analysis, which is especially designed for this type of scenarios. The CIB was developed at ZIRIUS and is now used worldwide for an algorithm-based development of qualitative and semi-quantitative scenarios. The method is thematically generic. Typical fields of application are energy, climate and sustainability research.

CIB is based on the qualitative and/or semi-quantitative elicitation of the interdependencies of a complex system using expert or stakeholder assessments and/or literature analysis. The interdependencies thus compiled define a qualitative impact network that can be evaluated according to formal consistency criteria (the CIB consistency principle), leading to "consistent scenarios" of system behavior. These can be used, for example, for planning, strategy development or intervention analysis.

The aim of the CIB-Lab is to further develop the method and enhance its potential and applicability to new fields. At the CIB-Lab, we:

  • implement CIB application projects
  • deal with methodological questions concerning CIB analysis, including the development and testing of method extensions
  • maintain and further develop the CIB software ScenarioWizard
  • maintain the method homepage, which provides aforementioned software, method information and a bibliography
  • collect and methodologically analyse published CIB applications to foster learning effects and practical recommendations for the method application
  • support the international network of research institutions that apply or methodically research CIB
  • advise users, supervise guest researchers, give lectures and conduct training measures.

The CIB-Lab cooperates closely with the research area "Method Development" at ZIRIUS.

Application and methodological research projects

Current projects

The project deals with the influences on water demand and supply in the Peruvian Andes. At the CIB-Lab, scenarios are being developed in cooperation with local actors to provide information on the supply risks for the economic sectors and social groups concerned and to provide orientation for the hydrological model calculations of the project.
Project duration: 2016 - 2019                                                

Funding: DFG                                 

Partner: University of Zürich, IWS Univ. of Stuttgart       

Contact: Christian León

To the Projekt

The BMBF-funded project "ENavi " investigated the interactions between technology development, forms of organization, regulation and behavior. It thus expands the focus and views energy system transformation as a profound and systemic process of technical and social change. At the CIB-Lab, leitmotifs for energy system transformation are analyzed and compatible "technospheres" constructed, and the effects of social change on electrical load profiles are researched.  
Project duration: 2016 - 2019                                             

Funding: BMBF               

Partner: ca. 80 Partner, Coordination: IASS                       

Contact: Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle, Wolfgang Hauser, Sigrid Prehofer and Ricarda Schmidt-Scheele

To the Projekt

The Helmholtz Graduate School "Energy Scenarios" offers a structured training programme for international PhD students in the field of energy scenarios. The CIB-Lab hosts two doctoral projects funded by the ESS. They develop methods for the integration of societal processes into energy system modeling. Furthermore, the lab contributes to the lecture program of the graduate school with the topic CIB-supported context scenarios.
Project duration: 2011 - 2020                                                

Funding: Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft   

Partner: ITAS (Coordination), DLR, IER, ISI, IIP, IfP            

Contact: Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle, Sigrid Prehofer, Arash Shojachaikar

To The Projekt

Using the example of the Río Luríns river basin in the Lima region, Perú, experts from various disciplines are developing planning tools and drinking water supply and wastewater disposal concepts in the joint project TRUST. To this end, the CIB-Lab conducts a CIB-supported conflict analysis to analyze conflicts between options for policies in the different water consumption sectors and different parts of the river basin and to identify balanced and sustainable policy mixes.
Project duration: 2017 - 2020                                                

Funding: BMBF               

Partner: ISWA, TZW, KIT u.a. (Coordination ZIRIUS)        

Contact: Hannah Kosow, Christian León

To the Projekt

Completed projects

As part of the AutGrid project, Fraunhofer ISE and ZIRIUS analyzed autarky developments in the energy regions. To this end, the social science part of the project used expert interviews and workshops to investigate which factors are driving energy self-sufficiency efforts and how they interact. On this basis, consistent context scenarios were calculated, which show where the regions are located, to what extent they are self-sufficient and how this could develop until 2050. For the identified scenarios, an optimization model with high temporal and spatial resolution was used to show the effects on the German energy system. The study focused on a comparison of the scenarios with regard to system costs, required network expansion, network capacity utilization and the technology portfolio.

Project duration: 2015 – 2018                                                

Funding: BMBF

Partner: Fraunhofer ISE                                                          

Contact: Wolfgang Hauser

To The Project

Various activities for the use of renewable energies, energy saving and emission reduction of municipalities, regions, but also federal states can be bundled under the keyword "energy self-sufficiency". Against this background, an interdisciplinary research team of engineers and natural scientists as well as economists and social scientists prepared, carried out and interpreted simulations that determine the infrastructure required for a regional optimum. The task of the CIB-Lab was to create context scenarios that analyzed the framework conditions of self-sufficiency efforts and served as a starting point for the model simulations.

Project duration: 2014 – 2016                                               

Funding: BWPlus            

Partner: IER, DLR, IFk, LBP                                                    

Contact:  Wolfgang Hauser

The aim of the project was to investigate perception and evaluation patterns of (qualitative) energy scenarios by potential scenario users in politics, economy and society. The scenario community often uses the concept of 'plausibility' as a means to limit the space of scenario development and evaluation. Although it presents a central term in scenario research, it remains conceptually or empirically underexplored. An interdisciplinary theory exploration of the concept was conducted. This informed a semi-experimental study that analyzed how plausibility assessments are formed for different scenario formats. The Intuitive Logics (IL) method and the Cross-Impact Balance Analysis (CIB) were used as scenario formats.

Project duration: 2014 - 2017                                 

Funding: Cluster of Excellence SimTech (DFG)              

Partner: -                                                                      

Contact: Ricarda Schmidt-Scheele


To the Project

In the project City with Energy Efficiency - SEE Stuttgart, the CIB was used to develop the widest possible range of consistent scenarios for a climate-neutral city of Stuttgart in 2050. These scenarios served as a basis for the City of Stuttgart to formulate a roadmap. The ZIRIUS did not play a leading role in the scenario development, but supported the project partners methodically, e.g. by conducting a CIB training and also in the evaluation using the CIB software SzenarioWizard. ZIRIUS was also involved in the scenario development, e.g. in the creation of the cross-impact matrix and in the interpretation of the results.

Project duration: 2011- 2017                                                 

Funding: BMBF

Partner: 6 partners, coordination: Stadt Stuttgart           

Contact: Sandra Wassermann

To the Project

The interdisciplinary research alliance Energy-Trans, supported by the Helmholtz Association, investigated the socio-technical aspects of the energy system transformation. The CIB-Lab coordinated the foresight activities of Energy-Trans, developed together with the partners the concept of "Context Scenarios" that relate possible social futures to possible energy futures and applied the concept in the Alliance's "Integrated Scenario Building" project in cooperation with DLR.

Project duration: 2011 - 2016                                                

Funding: Helmholtz-Association              

Partner: 8 partners, coordination: ITAS                              

Contact: Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle, Wolfgang Hauser, Sigrid Prehofer

To the Project

In this dissertation project, two explorative case studies from the field of environmental scenarios were used to investigate (whether and) how CIB can be combined with numerical modeling and simulation in order to support inter- and transdisciplinary research teams in creating qualitative and quantitative or integrated explorative socio-environmental scenarios. In particular, ideal-typical forms of combination were identified, effects of the use of CIB within such combinations on traceability and consistency, and factors influencing these effects of CIB.

Project duration: 2009-2015                                   

Funding: Cluster of Excellence SimTech (DFG)

Partner: -                                                                      

Contact: Hannah Kosow

The topic of the research project was the development of measures to secure the drug supply chain. The proposed security measures were intended to prevent criminal or accidental acts or accidents. Threats to the drug supply chain can arise from counterfeit drugs, attacks through the smuggling of dangerous drugs, accidents in the packaging process or in the cold chain, etc. ZIRIUS developed CIB-supported threat scenarios on the basis of which security measures were developed.

Project duration: 2010 - 2014                                                

Funding: BMBF

Partner: IPRI                                                                               

Contact: Michael Löscher

The LiWa project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the programme "Research for the sustainable development of tomorrow's megacities - energy and climate efficient structures in urban growth centres". The objective of the LiWa project was to develop concepts and procedures for the sustainable planning and management of water supply and sanitation in Lima, the capital of Peru. Among other things, scenarios for the future water supply were created on the basis of hydrological simulations together with German and Peruvian partners and with the help of the CIB method. Subsequently, effective, socially acceptable measures were developed in participatory forums, which particularly take into account the effects of climate change and the promotion of energy-efficient structures.

Project duration: 2008-2013 (main project phase)          

Funding: BMBF

Partner: IFAK (coordination),                                                 

Contact: Christian León, Hannah Kosow ZIRIUS (coordination Peru), IWS,UFZ,

To the Project

This project dealt with the uncertainty and interdependence of framework assumptions in environmental model calculations. Model framework assumptions are often used in modeling practice without a systematic analysis of their mutual influence relationships and thus affect the validity of the model results. In this project, commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency, it was demonstrated how the CIB procedure can be used to develop systematically constructed and internally consistent framework data sets for environmental models.

Project duration: 2010-2011                     

Funding: UBA   

Partner: -                                                       

Contact:   Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle, Sandra Wassermann, Hannah Kosow


The project investigated the social and societal background of juvenile obesity in two sub-projects: from the perspective of the affected persons in the form of interviews with affected persons and their relatives and from the perspective of experts in the form of a CIB analysis. For this project, the CIB-Lab conducted interdisciplinary expert workshops, developed a qualitative risk model and evaluated it with the CIB method in order to identify environment-specific starting points for obesity prevention.
Project duration: 2009 - 2012                                  

Funding: BMBF

Partner: Uni. Hannover, Katalyse-Institut             

Contact: Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle

In this project, it was examined on the basis of which influencing factors and with which effects large companies select locations for their R&D developments on the one hand and their diffusion priorities on the other. The investigation was carried out using the technology development of coal-fired power plants as an example, comparing Germany and China. CIB was used for a system analysis of the innovation environment and the activities of multinational companies.
Project duration: 2007 - 2009                                                

Funding: VW-Foundation            

Partner: FZ-Jülich, ZEW                                                           

Contact: Sandra Wassermann

In this project, funded by the Baden-Württemberg government, a conceptual alternative to the conventional three-pillar model of sustainability was developed. Part of this was a CIB analysis that examined the systemic implications of the interactions between the different fields of action of sustainability. For this purpose, the cross-impacts between 19 sustainability criteria were collected in an expert survey. The resulting impact network was evaluated using the CIB method. A ranking of the systemic impact for the criteria was established and the key factors dominating the systemic impact were identified.
Project duration: 2005 - 2006                  

Funding: Ministry for Science Baden-Württemberg

Partner: -                                                       

Contact: Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle

In this case study, the possibilities of integrating the effects of innovation processes into energy-economic modeling were examined. The contribution of the CIB method consisted in an analysis of the political and economic environment structures that could favor or inhibit innovation processes. For this purpose, four innovation and four energy experts developed a qualitative model of the interdependencies between political measures, entrepreneurial structures and technological developments in a series of workshops. The model was evaluated using the CIB method, transferred to innovation scenarios. On this base, the systemic effectiveness of different policy patterns was assessed.

Project duration: 2004-2005                                    

Funding: BMWi

Partner: Forum für Energiesystemanalyse           

Contact:  Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle


Weimer-Jehle W. (2006): Cross-Impact Balances: A System-Theoretical Approach to Cross-Impact Analysis. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 73:4, 334-361.

Weimer-Jehle W. (2008): Cross-Impact Balances - Applying pair interaction systems and multi-value Kauffman nets to multidisciplinary systems analysis. Physica A, 387:14, 3689-3700.

Weimer-Jehle W. (2009): Properties of Cross-Impact Balance Analysis. arXiv:0912.5352v1.

Weimer-Jehle W. (2009): Szenarienentwicklung mit der Cross-Impact-Bilanzanalyse. In: Gausemeier J. (Hrsg.): Vorausschau und Technologieplanung. HNI-Verlagsschriftenreihe Vol. 265, Paderborn, 435-454.

Kosow, H. (2011): Consistent context scenarios: a new approach to ‘story and simulation’. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Seville Conference on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA), Seville (Spain), 12.-13.05. 2011.

Weimer-Jehle W., Kosow H. (2011): Gesellschaftliche Kontextszenarien als Ausgangspunkt für modellgestützte Energieszenarien. In: Dieckhoff C. et al. (Hrsg.): Energieszenarien - Konstruktion, Bewertung und Wirkung. KIT Scientific Publishing, Karlsruhe.

Weimer-Jehle W., Prehofer S., Vögele S. (2013): Kontextszenarien - Ein Konzept zur Behandlung von Kontextunsicherheit und Kontextkomplexität bei der Entwicklung von Energieszenarien. TATuP 22(2), 27–36.

Kosow H. (2015): New outlooks in traceability and consistency of integrated scenarios. Eur J Futures Res 3:16, DOI 10.1007/s40309-015-0077-6.

Kosow H. (2016): The best of both worlds? An exploratory study on forms and effects of new qualitative-quantitative scenario methodologies. Dissertation, Universität Stuttgart.

Shojachaikar A. (2016): Qualitative but systematic envisioning of socio-technical transitions: Using cross-impact balance method to construct future scenarios of transitions. International Sustainability Transitions Conference 6-9 September 2016, Wuppertal.

Scheele R., Kosow H., Prehofer S. (2017): Kontextszenarien als Ergänzung modellgestützter Szenarioanalysen – Grundlagen und aktuelle Fragestellungen. In: Tilebein, M. et al. (Hrsg.) Digitale Welten: Neue Ansätze in der Wirtschafts- und Sozialkybernetik. Wirtschaftskybernetik und Systemanalyse Band 30, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 107-121.

Weimer-Jehle W., Kosow H. (2017): Konsistenz von gesellschaftlichen Rahmenannahmen - Erfahrungen mit CIB. In: Biemann K., Distelkamp M., Dittrich M., Dünnebeil F., Greiner B., Hirschnitz-Garbers M., Koca D., Kosow H., Lorenz U., Mellwig P., Neumann K., Meyer M., Schoer K., Sverdrup H., von Oehsen A., Weimer-Jehle W.: Sicherung der Konsistenz und Harmonisierung von Annahmen bei der kombinierten Modellierung von Ressourceninanspruchnahme und Treibhausgasemissionen. Umweltbundesamt Dokumentationen 04/2017, Dessau, 22-28.

Scheele R., Kearney N.M., Kurniawan J.H., Schweizer V.J. (2018): What Scenarios Are You Missing? Poststructuralism for Deconstructing and Reconstructing Organizational Futures. In: Krämer H., Wenzel M.: How Organizations Manage the Future - Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Insights. Springer International Publishing, Kapitel 8. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-74506-0_8

Scheele R. (2019): Applause for Scenarios!? An Explorative Study of ‘Plausibility’ as Assessment Criterion in Scenario Planning. Dissertation, Universität Stuttgart.

Schmidt-Scheele R. (2020): The Plausibility of Future Scenarios. Conceptualising an Unexplored Criterion in Scenario Planning. Transcript Independent Academic Publishing, Bielefeld.

Method applications, sorted by application fields

Jenssen T., Weimer-Jehle W. (2012): Mehr als die Summe der einzelnen Teile - Konsistente Szenarien des Wärmekonsums als Reflexionsrahmen für Politik und Wissenschaft. GAIA 21/4, 290–299.

Jenssen T., Weimer-Jehle W. (2012): Möglichkeitsräume des zukünftigen Konsums von Wärme. In: Gallego Carrera D., Renn O., Wassermann S., Weimer-Jehle W. (Hrsg.): Nachhaltige Nutzung von Wärmeenergie (Sustainable Heat Consumption). Springer-Vieweg, Heidelberg, Wiesbaden.

Senkpiel C., Shammugam S., Biener W., Saad Hussein N., Kost C., Kreifels N., Hauser W. (2016): Concept of evaluating chances and risks of grid autarky. 13th International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM), June 6-9, 2016, Porto (Portugal). DOI: 10.1109/EEM.2016.7521177

Vögele S., Hansen P., Poganietz W.-R., Prehofer S., Weimer-Jehle W. (2017): Scenarios for energy consumption of private households in Germany using a multi-level cross-impact balance approach. Energy 120, 937-946. DOI: 10.1016/

Weimer-Jehle, W. (2015): Cross-Impact Analyse, in: Niederberger, M./Wassermann, S. (Hrsg.): Methoden der Experten- und Stakeholdereinbindung in der sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschung, Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag: 17-34.

Weimer-Jehle W., Buchgeister J., Hauser W., Kosow H., Naegler T., Poganietz W., Pregger T., Prehofer S., von Recklinghausen A., Schippl J., Vögele S. (2016): Context scenarios and their usage for the construction of socio-technical energy scenarios. Energy 111, 956–970. DOI: 10.1016/

Brodecki L., Fahl U., Tomascheck J., Wiesmeth M., Gutekunst F., Siebenlist A., Salah A., Baumann M., Brethauer L., Horn R., Hauser W., Sonnberger M., León C., Pfenning U., O'Sullivan M. (2017): Analyse der Energie-Autarkiepotenziale für Baden-Württemberg mittels Integrierter Energiesystemmodellierung. Forschungsbericht BWPLUS des Landes Baden-Württemberg.

Weimer-Jehle W., Prehofer S., Vögele S., Buchgeister J., Hauser W., Kopfmüller J., Naegler T., Poganietz W.-R., Pregger T., Rösch C., Scholz Y. (2017): Kontextszenarien - Ein Konzept zur Behandlung von Kontextunsicherheit und Kontextkomplexität bei der Entwicklung von Energieszenarien und seine Anwendung in der Helmholtz-Allianz ENERGY-TRANS. In: Jens Schippl, Armin Grunwald, Ortwin Renn (Hrsg.). Die Energiewende verstehen – orientieren – gestalten. Erkenntnisse aus der Helmholtz-Allianz ENERGY-TRANS. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, p. 257-94.

Schmidt-Scheele R., Bauknecht D., Poganietz W.-R., Seebach D., Timpe C., Weimer-Jehle W., Weiss A. (2019): Leitmotive und Storylines der Energiewende. Wie Stakeholder-Positionen systematisch in Transformationspfade integriert werden können. TATuP 29(3).

Pregger T., Naegler T., Weimer-Jehle W., Prehofer S., Hauser W. (2019): Moving towards socio-technical scenarios of the German energy transition - lessons learned from integrated energy scenario building. Climatic Change.

Weimer-Jehle Wolfgang, Vögele Stefan, Hauser Wolfgang, Kosow Hannah, Poganietz Witold-Roger, Prehofer Sigrid (2020): Socio-technical energy scenarios: state-of-the-art and CIB-based approaches. Climatic Change.

Poganietz W.-R., Weimer-Jehle W. (2020): Introduction to the special issue ‘Integrated scenario building in energy transition research’. Climatic Change. DOI:10.1007/s10584-020-02871-7

Senkpiel C., Hauser W. (2020): Systemic Evaluation of the Effects of Regional Self-Supply Targets on the German Electricity System Using Consistent Scenarios and System Optimization. Energies, 13. DOI:10.3390/en13184695

Weimer-Jehle W., Deuschle J., Rehaag R. (2012): Familial and societal causes of juvenile obesity - a qualitative model on obesity development and prevention in socially disadvantaged children and adolescents. Journal of Public Health, 20(2), 111-124.

Deuschle J., Weimer-Jehle W. (2016): Übergewicht bei Kindern und Jugendlichen - Analyse eines Gesundheitsrisikos. In: Benighaus L., Renn O., Benighaus C. (Hrsg.): Gesundheitsrisiken im gesellschaftlichen Diskurs. Bremen: EHV Academicpress: 66-98.

Renn O., Deuschle J., Jäger A., Weimer-Jehle W. (2007): Leitbild Nachhaltigkeit - Eine normativ-funktionale Konzeption und ihre Umsetzung. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden.

Renn O., Deuschle J., Jäger A., Weimer-Jehle W. (2009): A normative-functional concept of sustainability and its indicators. International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 9:4, 291-317.

Weimer-Jehle W., Wassermann S., Kosow H. (2011): Konsistente Rahmendaten für Modellierungen und Szenariobildung im Umweltbundesamt. Gutachten für das Umweltbundesamt (UBA), UBA-Texte 20/2011, Dessau-Roßlau.

Kosow H., León C., Schütze M. (2013): Escenarios para el futuro - Lima y Callao 2040. Escenarios CIB, storylines & simulacin LiWatool [Zukunftsszenarien für Lima and Callao 2040. CIB Szenarien, Storylines und LiWatool Simulationen, in spanischer Sprache]. Szenariobroschüre des Liwa Projektes (

Schütze M., Seidel J., Chamorro A., León C. (2018): Integrated modelling of a megacity water system – The application of a transdisciplinary approach to the Lima metropolitan area. Journal of Hydrology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.045.

Kosow H., León C., Zahumensky Y.  (2019): Water conflict and policy analysis: A new methodology to identify conflict free policy-mixes”, GRoW- Mid-term Conference: Global analysis and local solutions for sustainable water resources management, 20-21.02.2019, Frankfurt am Main, PDF

León C., Kosow H. (2019): Wasserknappheit in Megastädten am Beispiel Lima. In: Lozán J.L., Breckle S.-W., Kuttler W., Matzarakis A. (Hrsg.). Warnsignal Klima: Die Städte. 191-196. Universität Hamburg.

Head of Cross-Impact Bilanz Analyse Lab

Members of the CIB-Lab

To the top of the page