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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 6

Scenario Planning

Paint visions of possible change.

 

Scenario planning (also known as scenario thinking) is a tool that helps you prepare for changes in such factors as demographics, politics, the economy, and industry environment. By identifying the status quo and how it will be affected by future events and uncertainty, scenario planning can better position an organization to transform and survive.

Scenarios are narratives that help us frame our thinking on how present circumstances will be affected by future change. Scenarios are not forecasts or extrapolations of current trends—they're simply interpretations of the impact of possible changes. Rather than trying to predict the future, scenarios help innovators understand the driving forces of change, how to prepare for it, and how to take advantage of it.

The output of scenario planning is not a company or personal to-do list, but rather, a general guide to contemplating change, cognizant of its associated risks. This technique is best performed in a team environment with the help of an expert scenario planning facilitator.

Scenario planning has been extensively used in such different industries as energy (Shell Corporation) and politics (evaluating the future of a post-apartheid South Africa).

Steps

Scenario: Healthy Bits is a small software company that develops patient-care software used by doctors and nurses on their handheld Windows CE PDAs (personal digital assistants). However, new devices and platforms ...

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