Scenario Thinking the Next Big Thing


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In the past few months, I have submersed myself into several different areas. One of them being Scenario Planning or Thinking. I was honored to have George Wright, co-author of Scenario Thinking: Practical Approaches to the Future. The book is an innovative guide to new methods in scenario thinking. The book focuses on the demonstration and illustration of practical steps in scenario development processes.Scenario Thinking

Scenario Planning in the past has been used for fairly large subjects that you are discussed in the podcast. Topics, such as where will healthcare be in thirty years. However, scenario planning can be simply described as a methodology based on handling uncertainty. If we had to pick one buzzword for the last few years outside of innovation, it would be uncertainty. I feel that scenario planning can make an impact in today’s uncertain world.

Enough of my talk let’s hear what George Wright has to say.

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About George Wright: George is currently Professor of Management at Durham Business School, University of Durham, UK. He has consulted and provided management development programmes on scenario thinking and decision making with organizations such as Bayer, EADS, Petronas, Scottish Power, Thales, United Utilities, and national and local government in the UK. He has published on scenario thinking in international journals, including Futures, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Management Studies, and Organization Studies.

An excellent post by John Hagel (as always), Pivots and Portfolios: A Contrarian View, discusses the role of scenarios to assess uncertainty. John says,

Scenario planning can help to systematically assess the likely impact of variables that are more uncertain and frame a likely set of alternative futures.  This provides a useful context to assess the potential robustness of major options in strategic direction – how well would these options fare in each of the scenarios that have been defined? In assessing the likelihood of potential scenarios, it is important to ask what initiatives we might be able to pursue that would materially alter the probability of outcomes that our more favorable to us.  One of the biggest errors in scenario planning is to treat probabilities as a given rather than something that can be shaped by our own action.

I am a big fan of John’s work and especially the book he co-authored The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion. His remarks about scenario planning offers me a little validation in my thinking and encourages me to take a step further. Thanks John!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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