Establishing scenarios and moving forward with them is not the end of the exercise. You cannot afford to ‘rest on your laurels’ and assume that because you’ve undergone the exercise once that you don’t need to worry about it too much for the next few years. Always bear in mind that scenarios do not represent truths – they are based on what we know about what is happening and the application of imagination in order to predict what might happen in the future.
It is vital that you monitor trends to assess whether what you have predicted actually materialises and if not then you need to consider how the original scenarios need amending. If you do not then any advantage you may have experienced initially may quickly erode as a result of things not going the way that you had anticipated and planned for. It is important therefore that the action plan is amended to reflect any changes that may have an impact.
Scenario planning can help you in all kinds of ways to ‘think the unthinkable’ and be better prepared for what might be round the corner. In a time where increasingly agile strategies are the order of the day it can prove a useful tool for considering a diverse range of possible futures.
Between 2007 and 2009, we undertook a major work programme looking at strategy planning and implementation across our sector, providing tailored outputs to promote good practice as well as assistive tools and techniques to help organisations along. The scenario planning material formed a small part of that resource in its context as a strategic planning tool and was closely linked to those materials.