Rehearsing The Future With Scenario Planning
By Guy Rigby, Director & Head of Entrepreneurs at Smith & Williamson
For many growth businesses, the frequency and impact of unexpected events can be alarming and difficult to handle. But with the use of creative foresight and a technique known as ‘scenario planning’, businesses can spot opportunities and make good decisions to help manage future uncertainties.
Scenario planning has become more widely adopted by businesses of all sizes in response to rapid change, increasing complexity and rising levels of uncertainty. Some businesses develop and maintain a number of plausible future scenarios to guide their decision making as and when they arise....
...Others use the technique to support a single and important decision based on their assumptions about the future.
How scenario planning can help growing businesses
Growing businesses can enjoy a number of additional benefits by using scenario planning to underpin their future plans:
- Strategies and decisions are likely to be more resilient when they are tested against a range of possible scenarios. Cause and effect will be better understood and the business will have a sharper view on new opportunities.
- Scenario thinking helps to build effective teams. The process of scenario planning is itself creative and enjoyable. It uncovers and uses differences of opinions and challenges assumptions. It also builds new perspectives of what might be possible and where new opportunities lie.
- Scenario planning will strengthen the business as it becomes more alert to external trends and developments, improving its ability to respond. Scenarios are easy to communicate and staff will readily recognise the drivers of success as well as the potential dangers.
How to use scenario planning
Scenario planning is usually more focused and useful if it is structured around an important and far-reaching decision, or possibly a 'what if' event. For example, you may be considering a major new... continued on page two >