Scenarios as vehicle for strategic thinking and strategy development
Working with Scenarios
Using scenarios is a revolutionary alternative to traditional strategic planning because it recognizes the unpredictable nature of the future and makes uncertainty a part of the plan.
Very often we hear our clients say: “Future developments within our industry are very uncertain and depend strongly on a multitude of technological, social and political interference."
Scenario planning simplifies the the struggle to make sense of an abundance of possible data into a limited number of anticipated future conditions. It then ventures on to facilitate the development of strategic answers without neglecting the big picture. The main characteristics of situations where a development of strategic scenarios make sense are:
When the industry is experiencing fundamental changes (social and technological changes resulting in political/regulatory adjustments)
When strong and differing opinions exist at the same time - within the industry and within the company - when it comes to beliefs of future developments
When there is and identified need to establish a common language and planning framework in order to increase the efficiency when discussing at various organisational levels
When there is a sense of being stuck in "one prevailing scenario", and it ha become increasingly difficult to generate new business opportunities
Building scenarios are not enough. Equally important is what is done with the scenarios once they are developed. A scenario process thus consists of two parts:
1. Scenario building – covers conduct of data gathering, analysing, synthesising, and eventually construction of scenarios.
2. Scenario deployment – centres on using scenarios to change the way decision are made, shifting the thinking of managers, re-framing decision making processes, and examining numerous strategic and organisational issues in the context of each scenario.
We often discuss Dominant Logic as an important ingredient in the process; the logic that has enabled past successes and at the same time may be a major obstacle for future development and change. Dominant Logic is
Our behaviour, focus and the way people act
A set of ideas about the company and the world
A reflection of our success
Something that is invisible, internal
An organisation’s genetic code