Scenario Planning - The future now
Book chapter, 2013
A new project idea, irrespective of origin and organizations, will always need to react and adapt to the operating environment in order to survive. However, the most successful organizations will predict the future with intelligent insight, enabling them to change proactively to maintain competitive advantage.
Traditional planning techniques use predictions, forecasts and projections, but they may not be able to cope with ‘disruptive’ changes in the environment. A more powerful approach is scenario planning, which can be seen as a rediscovery of the original entrepreneurial power of creative foresight in the context of accelerated change, greater complexity and genuine uncertainty. In practical terms, this involves thinking, unconstrained by the present, to consider plausible future options. It is about making choices today with an understanding of how they might turn out tomorrow.
This chapter reviews the process tools available for scenario planning. The key steps are as follows: 1)Identify the focal issue or decision, 2)Identify the key forces in the environment, 3)What are the driving forces?
4)Identify and rank factors by importance and uncertainty, 5)Select and build the scenario stories, 6) Flesh out the scenario details and their implications, 7)What will be the leading indicators and signposts? 8)Communicate and represent the scenarios to the contributors.
In conclusion, it would without doubt be helpful to have insight into the future. Scenario planning is a robust method for taking the guesswork out of the equation as far as possible while retaining the ability to consider a variety of plausible eventualities. This approach is therefore particularly useful when considering the longer term and/or situations in which unexpected changes may disrupt previous trends.