At Futurist.com there are two basic approaches to long-range planning: Preferred Future Planning and Scenario Planning.
There is a slightly odd notion in business today that things are moving so fast that strategy becomes an obsolete idea. That all you need is to be flexible or adaptable. Or as the current vocabulary puts it, “agile.” This is a mistake. You cannot substitute agility for strategy. If you do not develop a strategy of your own, you become a part of someone else’s strategy. You, in fact, become reactive to external circumstances. The absence of strategy is fine, if you don’t care where you’re going.
Preferred Future Planning
- Pushes boundaries by asking three future questions: What is probable? What is possible? What is preferred?
- Maps these questions into the Three Cone Model.
- Takes a wide-angle, long-range look at future trends and strategic opportunities.
- Speeds up the strategic planning process.
- Can be accomplished in a single retreat, or a series of organization retreats and stakeholder involvement events.
- Focuses action planning on strategies and first wins, or small victories that shift enterprise direction.
- Best used when an enterprise faces more than routine change, and truly needs to change the game it is playing.
- Develops several plausible scenarios for the future.
- Scenarios developed by teams in a single event or a series of events over time.
- Uses a systematic process for developing scenarios, based on original work by Peter Swartz at Royal Dutch Shell.
- Includes special refinements of the scenario planning process to deduce preferred future options within and across multiple scenarios.
- Outcomes can include strategic implications and preferred future strategies, which apply in all scenarios.
- Allows for a high degree of creativity.
- Accounts for the rapidly changing future.
- Most popular of long-range planning activities among organizations today.
I work with your company or association to develop a single Think Tank event, or a series of them. After identifying important areas of future exploration for the enterprise, we identify materials to study and experts to invite to make presentations. In a custom event I then go into an in-depth exploration of future events, trends, and developments shaping the enterprise and industry and develop strategic implications.
A Think Tank can be delivered to senior management, to a select team within a single enterprise, or to an industry-wide association conference. Examples include: Game Changers in Manufacturing, Game Changers in Human Resources, What Ports will Look Like in 30 Years, Libraries of the Future, and Trucking and Motor Carriers in 20 Years.
Contact me to discuss a consultation.