Scenario planning helps organizations handle unexpected circumstances as they unfold while focusing effort on the circumstances that are most likely to take place in the future. The consultants and managers brainstorm on “what-if” hypothetical environments and develop appropriate courses of action for each alternative.
- Define key questions and challenges in order to articulate a key focal issue
- Research driving forces that impact the key focal issue, and distinguish forces that are predetermined versus forces that are uncertain
- Rank uncertain driving forces starting with the ones that are most uncertain and influential.
- Derive two critical uncertainties, each of which may represent one or several driving forces
- Create a 2x2 matrix from the two critical uncertainties and develop a narrative for each quadrant. For each scenario, start with a catchy headline and then frame a consistent plot line by weaving characteristics and driving forces into stories that match the headline. To build compelling stories, step through the fictional development that lead to the headline using newspaper styles, popular characters/organizations, and standard fiction plot lines
- Generate and prioritize implications and options for each scenario
- Develop action plans based on most promising / likely scenarios
- Monitor events as they unfold and watch for early warning signals
- Prepare the organization to change course if necessary