SKILLFUL MEANS INC

STRATEGY & ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

SCENARIOS

Dealing With Uncertainty

 

The future is uncertain, though we like to believe it isn't and plan as if it weren't.

Attempting to predict the future virtually guarantees that we will be precisely wrong.   But there are tools which allow us to be imprecisely right.  Chief among these tools are scenarios.

"Scenario [It., f. scena, Scena.] A sketch or outline of a plot....."

Oxford English Dictionary, 1933

  identify the critical questions facing the organization as it plans for the future;

 

  identify the "driving forces" which affect the organization - forces over which it has little or no control;

 

  determine which critically important variables are least predictable;

 

  surface assumptions and personal, or institutional, mental models which shape and constrain their thinking;

 

  "map" possible futures which are,

        plausible

        divergent

        provocative

 

Scenarios are stories about possible futures - intelligent stories, incorporating both rigorous analysis and imagination.   The process of building scenarios allows and requires organization leaders and managers to: