What is Scenario Planning & Mapping, and what are best practices, online software tools and templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Scenario Planning
Scenario Planning is a process for businesses to think about and plan for the future. Also referred to as Scenario Mapping, Scenario Development or Scenario Analysis, the process typically involves identify external trends and disruptive innovations, exploring how the future could unfold, what the consequences would be for the business, and how to respond with alternative strategic plans.
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. Many organizations now use scenario planning in their strategic planning processes, often referring to the approach as Scenario Mapping, Scenario Development, or Contingency Planning.
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 Software 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. Many of our planning tools are part of our larger Business Strategy process since the first phases of strategy development include exploring emerging trends, the competitive landscape and customer needs. View video to learn more about the full strategy process:
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, PEST Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategic Roadmap, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.