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Scenario Planning

Scenario Planning

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Published by: emmaz84 on Sep 04, 2009
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05/02/2013

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Scenario Planning
www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk /tools/scenario-planning
 
 
 
Scenario Planning
 
www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk /tools/scenario-planning 
Page|2 
Contents
What is Scenario Planning? .............................................................................................................................. 3
 
The Evolution of Scenario Planning .................................................................................................................. 3
 
Potential Uses .................................................................................................................................................... 5
 
Successful Scenario Planning ........................................................................................................................... 7
 
Scenario Sets .................................................................................................................................................... 7
 
'How To...': A Step-by-Step Guide ..................................................................................................................... 9
 
Scoping .............................................................................................................................................................. 9
 
Trend Analysis ................................................................................................................................................. 10
 
Building Scenarios ........................................................................................................................................... 10
 
Generate Options ............................................................................................................................................ 11
 
Test Options .................................................................................................................................................... 13
 
Action Plan ....................................................................................................................................................... 15
 
Applying Creativity to the Scenario Process ................................................................................................... 16
 
Brainstorming ................................................................................................................................................... 17
 
Brainwriting ...................................................................................................................................................... 17
 
News Headlines ............................................................................................................................................... 18
 
Metaphors and Stories..................................................................................................................................... 20
 
Sources of Inspiration ...................................................................................................................................... 21
 
'Personal lives': Profiling target groups ............................................................................................................ 22
 
Timeline ........................................................................................................................................................... 23
 
Moving Forward ............................................................................................................................................... 24
 
Further links ..................................................................................................................................................... 25
 
Bibliography and References .......................................................................................................................... 25
 
 
 
Scenario Planning
 
www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk /tools/scenario-planning 
Page|3 
Predicting is difficult!
Future-gazing and making accurate predictions isnotoriously fraught with difficulty. Scenario planning,by using trend analysis as its base, keeping a focusand reigning in the prediction period to somewherearound the 10-year mark, helps build tests of plausibility into the process.Some Predictions
 
1901
The world market for cars is 1 million
 
1943
There is a world market for maybe 5 computers -Chairman, IBM
 
1968
There is no market for Japanese cars in the USA
 
1977
There is no reason why everyone should have acomputer - CEO, DEC
What is Scenario Planning?
Scenario planning or scenario thinking is astrategic planning tool used to make flexiblelong-term plans. It is a method for learningabout the future by understanding the natureand impact of the most uncertain and importantdriving forces affecting our world.Many of the regular methods for strategydevelopment assume that the world in three toten years' time will not significantly differ fromthat of today and that an organisation will havea large impact on its environment: they assumewe can mould the future. Scenario planninghowever assumes that the future can differ greatly from what we know today.The method is based on creating a series of 'different futures' generated from a combinationof known factors, such as demographics, withplausible alternative political, economic, social,technical, legal and environmental (PESTLE)trends which are key driving forces. The goal isto craft diverging worlds by extrapolating theseheavily-influencing driving forces. Thetechnique can also include anticipatory thinkingelements that are difficult to formalise, such assubjective interpretations of facts, shifts invalues, new regulations or inventions.It is a group process which encourages knowledge exchange and development of mutual deeper understanding of central issues important to the future of your organisation. Although the method is mostwidely used as a strategic management tool, it can also be used for enabling other types of group discussionabout a common future.The thought processes involved in getting to the scenarios have the dual purpose of increasing knowledge of the environment in which you operate and widening the participant's perception of possible future events -encouraging them to 'think the unthinkable'. For each of these worlds, appropriate action plans can beconsidered. Asking the key question, 'what do we need to do (now) to be ready for all scenarios?', can theninform the formulation of strategies to cope with these differing pictures of the future (or at least to addressthe maximum number of possibilities).
The Evolution of Scenario Planning
Scenario Thinking has a long history. Back in the 16th Century a Spanish Jesuit theologist and scholar, Luisde Molina, was credited with introducing the concept of 'conditional future contingents' or 'futuribilia' as anexplanation for free will, foreknowledge and predestination (Molina 1589, in Malaska & Virtanen, 2005 pg12). More recently, in 1960s France, the Futurist Gaston Berger reflected in his work 'Phénoménologies duTemps et Prospectives' (trans. Prospective methodologies) on contextualising past and present events withScenarios provide alternative views of the future. They identify some significant events, main actorsand their motivations, and they convey how the world functions. Building and using scenarios can helpus explore what the future might look like and the likely changes of living in it.

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