The executive summary of scenario planning might read: Efficient and effective dialogue technique which helps participants generate valuable insights about how a company works within itself, with its customers, suppliers, partners, etc, and how it might deal with a number of possible futures. These insights come from the unusual connections made in responding to the questions that support scenario planning.
Scenario planning is a dialogue technique — where dialogue is conversation that generates learning.
One important distinction is the difference between discussion and dialogue. In dialogue, meeting participants actively listen to understand others’ points of view, and speak to describe their point of view while working to build a shared understanding. Dialogue can describe the kind of conversation that builds a synergistic new and better understanding of an issue.
Discussion describes the kind of conversation which only presents and compares current points of view and all too often deteriorates into turf and ego battles providing poor decisions about the future, and weak support for any of the decisions.
The significant benefit of this technique comes from the deep dialogue that the different scenario stories provoke. The alternate views generate new insights about a company and its future. Scenario planning usually considers at least four possible futures.
I will present a one day Scenario Planning Skills seminar in Holland on July 30, and in Grand Rapids on July 31, 2014 where you and your organization can learn to take your next steps to successful, long term planning. To learn more about this seminar, please watch Scenario Planning