Strategic Preparedness

We’re often asked for references on Scenario Planning. Here are some of the best and most readable that I have discovered. What you should see across all of these is long time horizons, often in industries characterised by significant capital investment, and robust strategies developed to deal with critical uncertainties as well as predetermined elements. Scenario planning is a rich tool that does require investment by the company. It’s payoff is high value strategies, that ensure you are prepared for a range of eventualities. As many authors point out, it is not a quest to be correct in your forecasting, rather it is a journey to ensure that the company minimises it’s chances of being wrong. 

The simplest and clearest step by step explanation of “how to do scenario planning” that I’ve seen in 20 years of using the technique is the NAED playbook.

Here are “future of the internet” scenarios developed by Cisco in partnership with Global Business Network GBN (Peter Schwartz’s company) in August 2010. GBN published a very valuable document written for the not-for-profit sector that contains excellent material on the process and well illustrated examples that I’m confident are useful in any sector Click to read the article.

The Global Banking Scenarios published in February 2012 were featured like this …. “Knowledge@Wharton and Ernst & Young this week have published a groundbreaking video-enhanced eBook, Global Banking 2020: Foresight & Insights. In this new eBook, Wharton faculty, members of Ernst & Young’s Global Banking and Capital Markets practice, and global bankers explore scenarios for the future of banking and what strategies global bank executives should adopt now to prosper over the next 10 years. For more information or to view video excerpts, please visit the enhanced eBook preview page”. Click to read 

To read The Australia 2025 perspective developed by the Business Council of Australia in 2001 click here.

Shell are widely credited with significant practical, on-going use of scenario planning and with major contributions to the literature. They generously publish much of their material which you will find here.

Shell describe their work as follows …. “Shell uses scenarios to explore the future. Our scenarios are not mechanical forecasts. They recognise that people hold beliefs and make choices that can lead down different paths. They reveal different possible futures that are plausible and challenge people’s assumptions. Our latest publication, Signals and Signposts, considers how events have unfolded since the 2008 publication of our Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050 and offers our understanding of the changes brought about by the global economic crisis”.

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