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