The scenario method is a useful, creative, and increasingly popular way for managers to reframe their perspective and improve their organisational resilience. The course shows how to recognise the driving forces that will affect the future business context and consider the present-day implications. By building detailed and imaginative narratives, participants will learn how to confront uncertainty and become more confident in conditions of change. The lecture content contains the cutting-edge practice of the scenario method and the blended approach permits flexibility, agility, and collaborative project work.
- Reading pack: (download all here)
- “3 scenarios for how COVID-19 plays out: Morgan Stanley” by Yahoo! Finance, by Ethan Wolff-Mann, 28th February 2020
- “3 Scenarios for How Putin Could Actually Use Nukes” by Gregg Herken, Avner Cohen and George Moore, Politico, 16th May 2022
- “Planning for a life without death or smartphones: what it’s like to be a futurologist“, by Amelia Heathman, Evening Standard, 26 July 2018
- Required reading:
- Wilkinson, Laurence, 1995, “How to Build Scenarios” Wired Magazine
- Ramirez, R., Churchhouse, S., Palermo, A., and Hoffman, J., “Using scenario planning to reshape strategy“, MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2017
Here is a pre course quiz.
- Slide deck: MDM (June 2023)
- Scenarios Worksheets (.pptx)
- Shell’s Energy Transformation Scenarios: Summary Report, Full Report
- Shell’s Energy Security Scenarios: Summary Report,
- Deloitte’s Covid-19 Scenarios
- Oxford Scenarios Programme, Webinar, September 2017 – this provides an excellent overview of two fascinating case studies: Rolls Royce and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
For my report on SMRs see here. For my analysis of the situation in Belarus see here.
Here is a recording of my webinar from December 2021 on Scenario Planning for the Energy Industry:
In 1997 Wired published an article called “The Long Boom” in which Peter Schwartz and Peter Leyden provided a “history of the future 1980-2020”. You can read it here.
Recommended further reading:
- Wack, Pierre, 1985, “Scenarios: Uncharted Waters Ahead.” Harvard Business Review 63, 5: 73-89
- Roxburgh, C., 2009, “The use and abuse of scenarios” McKinsey Quarterly
- Lang, T., and Ramirez, R., “Getting the most from publicly available scenarios: 5 ways to avoid costly mistakes” California Management Review, April 29th 2021
|Learning Objectives: Build and use scenarios. Think creatively about alternate futures. Link scenario planning to strategic issues.|
Why is the scenario method so important? Because, as Adam Martin mentioned in his interview with Peter Boettke, in economics the emphasis on choice is because we live in a world of scarcity. The conditions of uncertainty mean we require imagination. Scarcity and uncertainty are the context. Choice and imagination are the consequence.