Scenario development, planning and deployment are process tools used to improve future foresight. Scenario planning is about better strategic conversations, real option generation and decision making. Improved anticipation of the future is attributed to scenario planning’s unique methods, theory and history.

Methodologically, scenario planning takes an outside-in approach to organizational development to create adaptive, robust and resilient strategies. The scenario planning process is begun in a facilitated workshop that engages stakeholders’ perceptions and imaginations.

Theoretically, scenario planning is rooted in complexity theory, dynamic systems analysis, and the extrapolations of evolutionary ecology, known as Megatrends. The application and dissemination of scenarios is the domain of organizational leadership. Proper scenario planning does not stand on theory alone; it’s theoretical underpinnings are best supported through research and data.

Historically, scenario planning was pioneered by militaries and later incorporated by large oil multinationals. Over time, the methods have evolved and been improved upon and can realize better results. Today, scenario planning  is practiced in over half of Fortune 500 companies and is found in businesses, the sciences, communities and public policy. Managers and decision makers are realizing the need to better project the future, and that the future will be upon us sooner than we expect it to be.

Scenarios are the context for advanced strategic conversations that allow for new strategies to emerge and existing strategies to be tested. Strategies need to be agile and flexible to adapt to the conditions we cannot change, robust enough to win in a range of uncertainties, and resilient to re-invent the organization when the time arises. Scenarios will support decision makers with better insight, clarity and confidence. These are the leaders that will not be brought passively into the future, but those who will shape it.

The site is maintained by Matthew Spaniol, Chief Scenario Planner at Trends & Scenario Group and former Foresight Analyst at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. He is from Minnesota and resides in Copenhagen, Denmark. He can be reached at msp@trendscenario.com or mobile +45 5012 6444.