Overview of the Stages in Scenario Building for Organizations
Extracted from the Art of the Long View, by Peter Schwartz and Scenarios: the Art of Strategic Conversation, by Kees Van der Heijden, and including some ToP methods for each stage.
- Identify a focal issue or decision for the organization.
- Identify factors influencing success or failure. This can be through identifying trends, eg. plotting observations on the Social Process Triangles. (See https://ica-associates.ca/understanding-trends/ for an understanding of how observations lead to trends)
- Identify primary “driving forces” at work in the present. Trends can be clustered to see larger “meta-trends” that are driving the emerging future
- Identify 2-3 factors and/or driving forces that are most important and uncertain. This can be done through a focused conversation on the meta-trends.
- Map the key “scenario drivers” to come up with the “fundamental axes of critical uncertainties” leading to 3-4 very different plausible scenarios of directions the world might go in. (This is often a messy and intuitive process.)
- Flesh out these 3-4 scenarios – create a narrative for each of a plausible future and name it.
- Look at each scenario for the impact on the focal issue or decision – its robustness and vulnerability in that scenario. Adapt strategies to position the organization to be in the best possible situation no matter which scenario comes true.
- Identify indicators to periodically monitor which scenario is emerging and adapt strategies accordingly.