The scenario building process is a Future Mapping exercise in which a custom scenario is tailored to the organization’s specific context and future requirements. This process is an effective tool for spurring discussions on the future requirements of the organization and can often lead to a re-evaluation of existing worldviews and truths. This process also encourages wide participation and stimulates discussions with customers, thereby providing an organization with an awareness of the relevant issues and how to address them to better serve its customers.
A new model for a new context
The environmental contexts in which organizations exist are changing at an increasing rate and exhibiting growing complexity. Because of this, managers must devote more time to thinking profoundly about the future. Forming personal opinions is only the first step. Management teams must also take collective responsibility for the results of their company. This asks for a focus on shared issues and the long term. Synocus’ scenario methodology builds on the scenario planning approach developed by Shell, as well as another scenario technique called Future Mapping. What we have added is a strong connection to offering design. We also emphasize the importance of developing both the social and information architectures of the organization in parallel with building the scenarios.
We always customize our scenario projects. The future requirements of the customers form the basis. Many times these requirements are not self-evident. Co-creating future scenarios is a stimulating way of engaging participants in a dialogue on future requirements, which serve as the basis on which to update the strategy and initiate new innovations. The scenario process proceeds through four distinct phases: Issue Identification, Building the Scenarios, Offering Innovation, and Action Planning. Normally a scenario project lasts for about four to six months. Synocus’ facilitator regulates the degree of openness of the process. The ambition is to raise important issues, but within certain limits.
The boundary conditions ensure that the outcomes of the initiative make a good connection to the real world situation. By collectively building and experiencing future scenarios, it often becomes necessary to re-evaluate existing worldviews and truths. This encourages wide participation and stimulates discussions between the customer, its customers and other interest groups. Together, participants collect and synthesize fragmented knowledge. This creates strong buy-in and commitment in a multi-actor environment. It provides awareness of which the relevant issues are, and what to do to address these issues. It also gives each participant a better understanding of how different worldviews exist in the immediate surroundings.