Scenario Thinking

The pace of change is expected to accelerate at warp speed, with more change expected in the next 15 years than in all of human history to date. How do you create a winning future?

What is Scenario Planning?

A Way of Thinking

We believe all leaders can benefit from learning how to create and work with scenarios.

Whether the goal is to lead a full scenario process or simply use it as a thinking tool, scenario work is an effective way to manage the future.

A Structured Process

Scenarios provide a framework to explore the combined impact of multiple factors related to a topic to the future of your organization.

They provide a way to think about an uncertain, complex, and rapidly changing future.

A Versatile Tool

Scenario planning is increasingly popular because our world is changing in disruptive ways. It is unlikely the future world in which we operate will look like today.

It doesn’t replace short-term planning. It complements it.

Scenario planning is a form of strategic foresight.
Scenarios are not forecasts or predictions. Rather, they are descriptions of potential future worlds and their potential impact on your organization.

Outcomes of Scenario Creation & Analysis

Increased Organization Resilience

  • Your organization will become more resilient in the face of unexpected turbulence as leaders research and think about the future
  • Sometimes the very expertise for which we are valued gets in our way. We can become so expert that we fail to perceive what doesn’t fit in our expertise, creating biased thinking. The scenario process compels us to look beyond the status quo and our expertise.

New Mental Models

  • As teams work together to create scenarios, they develop a shared understanding of issues for the future that pertain to their industry, organization or profession.
  • Scenarios are a thinking tool that can apply to many instances.
  • Once trends have been noted and explored they will continue to be noticed.

Implications & Options for Strategic Planning

  • When the scenario grid has been completed the team identifies implications for their own businesses.
  • Given the implications they then generate Options to address future possibilities.  These actions may take several forms: 1) No-brainers—actions that address multiple Futures, 2) Little Bets—small investments that will put the organization ahead (e.g a new partnership).
  • Critical weak signals can be monitored.

The point of Scenarios is not to get a single RIGHT answer. The benefit is that your day-to-day aperture will open, and you’ll become aware of the emerging world—beyond short-term fire drills. Scenario planning will open your “future aperture.”