Scenario planning

Get a grip on the turbulent environment
The external environment becomes more and more unpredictable. The traditional forms of forecasting and strategy development therefore are too rigid. Not the certainties, but rather the uncertainties must take central stage. And how you anticipate these uncertainties. That is the role of scenario planning.

Develop robust strategy for different scenarios

Scenario planning is a method that enables you to develop several plausible future scenarios. Here you will explore the development of key uncertainties and the opportunities and risks that this entails. Scenarios are extreme but conceivable stories of the future. Each scenario has specific opportunities and options. Options that fit each scenario are robust and a good underlay for your strategy.

Scenarios are stories. They are works of art, rather than scientific analyses. Maybe the reliability of their content is less important than the types of conversations and decisions they spark. – Arie de Geus

What is scenario planning used for?

Strategy formation

What strategic options should I tackle?

Strategy validation

How future-proof is my strategy?

Risk management

What risks should I consider?


How can I innovate?

Organization design

How can I design my organization for the future?

Complex decision-making

Should I invest or not? In which scenario should I scale up and in which scenario should I not?

What is scenario planning and what is not?

Scenarios are…

Presentations of the future

Scenarios think through uncertainty.

External realities

You cannot influence scenarios, you must consider them.

Extreme images

Scenarios are the corners of the playing field, designed to stretch and to challenge your current thinking.

Consistent and plausible ‘stories’

Scenarios depict what the future might look like. They form the basis for strategy and innovation.

Scenarios are not…

Predictions of the future

Reality will contain ingredients from multiple scenarios.

Choices for specific future directions

You do not choose just one scenario. They can all become reality.

Sensitivity analyses on a business case

Scenarios are no variations on a forecast, but explore several uncertainties.

Visions or strategic plans

Scenarios describe the possible environment. In the vision and strategy you describe how you can respond to it.

Scenario planning in 6 steps

Step 1: Determine scope

Determine the questions about the future, the time horizon, boundaries and stakeholders that can influence the future.

Step 2: Collect trends

Identify trends in the external environment.

Step 3: Analyze trends

Determine the impact and the uncertainty of trends. Also determine the degree of correlation between trends. The aim is to arrive at critical uncertainties.

Step 4: Create scenarios

Determine the scenario axes and work out the possible scenarios into vivid images of the future.

Step 5: Determine strategic options

Determine the opportunities and risks in the scenarios. Generate new strategic options. Score the relevance of the options for each scenario. And consider how future-proof your current strategy is.

Step 6: Monitor developments

Pay attention to the development in the scenarios with an early warning system, so that you are able to make timely adjustments.

Online tool: Social Scenario Planning

Co-create future scenarios with all stakeholders

  • Explore the future together
  • Richer input, better results
  • Greater support for the insights
  • Shorter turnaround time

Online tool: Early warning system

Monitor trends en scenario’s

  • Understand the impact and urgency of trends
  • Understand the probability of scenarios
  • Understand the relevance of strategic options
  • Engage in a strategic dialog

The world is changing. What do you do?

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