Higher Education

Scenario Planning Handbook: Developing Strategies in Uncertain Times, 1st Edition

  • Ian Wilson
  • Bill K. Ralston
  • ISBN-10: 0324312857  |  ISBN-13: 9780324312850
  • 272 Pages
  • © 2006 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $37.25



A cornerstone technique for strategic planning and execution, scenario planning is the best technique that takes into account the many uncertainties that are the reality of today's world. The primary objective of SCENARIO PLANNING HANDBOOK is to provide decision makers the insight and means to apply this technique in changing the way they think about and plan for the future. Scenario-based strategy both confronts and deals with uncertainty and leads to a strategy that is focused but resilient, specific but flexible. Extremely practical, this detailed handbook for developing and using scenarios guides readers step by step through the sequence and intricacies of a scenario project and the subsequent strategic decision-making. It explains what scenarios are and are not, when they are needed, as well as their uses and benefits. It also deals with cultural and organizational changes that an organization must undertake to maximize the benefits of scenario-based planning. This resourceful handbook is an excellent resource for CEOs, COOs, and general managers confronted with making major decisions today that will play out in the twists and turns of an uncertain environment.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Why Bother?
The extent of uncertainty-and the dilemma it poses: focus or flexibility? The need for foresight-but the dangers of (single-point) forecasting. Scenarios as an escape from the dilemma-what they are, and are not. The benefits of scenario-based planning and action.
Chapter 2: Preparing the Way.
Assessing the current planning culture. Understanding scenarios: what they are-what they require how they can be used. Designing the effort and approach to fit the need (e.g., the decision(s) to be supported; the information and resources needed; time available; etc.. Defining realistic expectations. Getting top management's support.
Chapter 3: Getting Started.
Assigning responsibilities. Forming the scenario team. Using consultants? Determining the initial focus/use for the scenarios. Defining the scope and time horizon.
Chapter 4: Laying the Foundation.
Identifying the "key decision factors" (i.e., "What we need to know about the future in order to make the decision"). Identifying and assessing the range of macro- and micro-forces that will shape the dynamics of the future environment. Identifying and assessing the critical uncertainties.
Chapter 5: Building the Scenarios.
How many scenarios should you create? Structuring the scenarios (the use of "scenario logics"). "Telling the stories" (the importance of "the plot"). Assigning graphic titles. The question of quantification. The issue of probabilities.
Chapter 6: Implementation -- From Scenarios to Strategy.
Assessing opportunities and threats. Linking scenarios to other planning tools (e.g., value chain analysis). Testing current (or proposed) strategy. Developing-and assessing-strategy options. Contingency planning.
Chapter 7: Leveraging the Scenarios.
Communicating the results. Motivating action. Linking scenarios to scanning and monitoring (a "comprehensive environmental analysis system").
Chapter 8: Changing the Culture.
Developing an educational program (to change behavior). Creating a learning organization. The critical importance of executive example.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Ian Wilson

Ian Wilson is Principal of Wolf Enterprises in San Rafael, CA, where he consults with senior management teams on projects involving strategic management, strategic vision, and scenario planning.

Bill K. Ralston

Bill Ralston has led more than 50 scenario-planning projects for companies around the world. He is a vice president and board member of SRI Consulting Business Intelligence, and president of PGO Consulting.