Strategic Foresight & Scenario Planning

Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning allows business executives to explore, test and anticipate possible alternative futures. It investigates the outcomes a company might get under a wide range of economic conditions and strategies.

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue.”

- Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

The purpose of scenario planning is not to predict the future but to evaluate decisions to be made today based on a number of plausible futures.

This approach can help executives to deal with uncertainty, to challenge present mindset, to uncover hidden assumptions such to enforce or re-direct present plans and actions. The outcome of a scenario planning exercise should be seen as a starting point for discussion, for having strategic conversations and to take actions.


“A study of more than 300 global senior executives found that 80% felt that their organization has less capacity for peripheral vision than they would need.”

Day and Schoemaker (2006). Peripheral Vision: Detecting the weak signals that will make or break your company. Harvard Business School Press, Boston.


“A 2018 study indicated future preparedness to be a powerful predictor for becoming an outperformer in your industry, for attaining superior profitability (33% higher profitability versus sample average), and for gaining superior market capitalization growth (200% higher market capitalization growth).”

Rohrbeck and Kum (2018). Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 129: 105-116.


Companies use Strategic Foresight & Scenario Planning to:

  • Anticipate the unexpected
  • Anticipate change and develop a matching strategy & actions
  • Uncover hidden assumptions
  • Widen the view on business
  • Think and explore the unthinkable
  • Identify the current beliefs, assumptions, ideas, thought processes of key decision makers
  • Challenge present beliefs and assumptions about the business and current strategy
  • Turn a long-range planning in a strategic learning exercise

Three Parallel Rivers BV offers Strategic Foresight & Scenario Planning as insight tool