Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future
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Albert Einstein Never Thought About the Future
When asked about his expectations for the future, Albert Einstein replied, "The future?...Oh, I never think about the future. It will be here soon enough". Imagine the CEO of your company saying that to the board of directors. Einstein's laissez-faire reply was not uncommon, especially coming from a scientist whose approach was based on facts. As a scientist, the "who-cares-let's-wait-and-see" mentality worked. However, in today's world - that attitude coming from a business leader would be of major concern.
Woody Wade, author of Sceanrio Planning introduces readers to this scenario. He makes it clear that any decision made by business leaders today, have to concentrate on improving future performace based on potential outcomes. Wade gives readers the ability to look beyond the present and anticipate the future.
Take a moment and think about the future. The next 10 years, to be precise. What do you think will happen on the world stage in the next 10 years that might affect you? In that time period, a number of trends are going to play out, changing the landscape in dozens of ways - politically, socially, economically. We will have made technological advances. We will have myriad new products to buy. We will face challenges that are maybe only dimly recognizable as potential problems today. Have you thought about these changes? Are you and your organization ready for them?
Scenario planning is a fascinating, yet underutilized, business tool that can be of immense value to a company's strategic planning process. It gives companies a chance to explore how the future could plausibly unfold in several different ways, and helps them visualize the implications that each scenario in this portfolio of possible futures could have on the company's fortunes.
It therefore helps decision-makers see opportunities and threats that could emerge a bit beyond their normal planning horizon. Scenario planning recognizes that at any point in time, there is not one single future that is certain to develop, but an array of possible futures that could potentially unfold.
Scenario Planning helps organizations open their eyes to different ways the future might develop. Readers will be more likely to make flexible, thoughtful, and better decisions today.