Scenario Planning is a process for businesses to think about and plan for the future. Also known as scenario development or scenario analysis, the process typically involves identify external trends and disruptors, exploring how the future could unfold, what the consequences would be for the business, and how to respond.
What is Scenario Planning, and what are best practices, tools and templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Scenario Planning
Description of Scenario Planning
Scenario Planning was originally used by military intelligence to make flexible long-term plans. It has been adapted to business situations over time, and was popularized as a tool for business strategy by Royal Dutch Shell. Scenario Planning generally contains four key steps:
- Decide what assumptions will be used as drivers for change (political, social, economic, technological)
- Identify the uncertainties that will have the most impact on your business
- Create a short list of conceivable scenarios
- Discuss the potential impact of each scenario and adjust your strategy accordingly
The best scenarios integrate multiple factors including political, environmental, technological, competitive, market, customer, and other external trends and forces. The goal is to explore unique combinations of these forces that create possible “scenarios” and that generate discussion around alternative approaches for influencing, avoiding, or simply preparing for alternative futures.
Tools & Templates
Scenario Planning is often considered a standalone tool to support strategic planning. Specific templates that are often part of Scenario planning include the Impact-Uncertainty Matrix, Four Quadrant Scenario Grid, and Trigger Tracking Map.
upBOARD's Online Scenario Planning Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Scenario Planning strategy techniques, upBOARD’s online Scenario Planning collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.