Link to

Google logo Web

Various routes (scenarios) diverging from the current courseScenario Planning

Use scenarios to refine your view of the future until it is robust enough to prepare you to deal for range of outcomes that might develop and formulate your strategy.




In this section, I describe:

Key words

Process map for scenario developmentCreate or influence markets, drivers, customer centric, visionary, pattern identification, identify emerging demand, overcome engrained perceptions, adapt, learn, what if, rehearse, make sense of the unexpected, hedge, flexibility, timing, probability


A learning experience where key players and outside experts examine the evolution of events that will lead to market opportunities.

Strategic Planning Process

Using scenarios to formulate strategy is a formal process; a few people people develop four likely futures. Consensus evolves from iterative, formal discussions, where a diverse group of experienced people discuss these likely routes and assess the probability that the scenario will play out. The key questions is what will drive that outcome?

Through the discussions, key players in a firm rehearse their responses and timing, so that when the "drivers" emerge, they can make an informed choice about the route to follow.

The scenario process is also an ideal, fast technique to anticipate a competitor's responses.

Preparing the Scenario

Two or three people prepare the scenarios and a presentation for the participants. They consult with folks inside and outside the firm about which scenarios are appropriate. They want to anticipate future demand.

Format of the scenario

The scenario description is one to two pages long, with a brief story of how it will evolve, expectations of customer responses and demand for the product or service. Include some rough numbers, usually demographic data. Technology trends are highlighted.

Educate the participants

The team provides the participants of the upcoming meeting the scenarios and explains the process. It is likely that during these presentations, there will be suggestions for additional detail, which can be incorporated.

The purpose is to give the participants some time to reflect before they meet.

Meeting Agenda


  • Brief overview of the scenarios
  • 1st breakout into predetermined groups to discuss a scenario
  • 2nd breakout, where the participants can pick their scenario


  • Facilitators report the morning results and scenario refinements
  • Group discussion — what are the leading indicators (drivers)
  • Stawman vote on likelihood for each scenario
  • Group discussion — how should the industry or firm respond
  • Individual vote on the probability of each scenario
  • Key points for report

After meeting report: results of afternoon discussion, probabilities of each scenario, likely responses. Then the core team refines the scenarios for presentation at the next meeting, usually in three to six months.


Scenario planning is a multi-year effort, where new scenarios are introduced as others prove unlikely.

Folks involved

The small team that prepares the initial draft of the scenarios includes three people:

  • one from R&D, Marketing or Product Development
  • an experienced technology implementer
  • a good communicator

and some research support, to put some numbers to the ideas.

The participants at the scneario meeting are a diverse group of the best folks you can invite and who like to formulate strategies.


Scenario timelines



Privacy Policy | Table of Contents | Contact Us