Assignment: Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?

As noted in several of the references given in the OERu SPRed MOOC, for reading and viewing, traditional strategic planning is a linear and rational process, driven mainly by analysis of current, and short term historical, trends, projected mainly quantitatively into the future (Introduction to Scenario Planning VideoYoutube, 2011; JISC, 2013). A single-option strategic plan is then developed. To put it simply, the present is projected into the future, which usually is reasonably accurate in the short term of a year or two, but longer term does not hold up as there are too many complex interactions among variables that can obtain in the longer term future. Thus an alternative approach is needed to provide insight as to what types of actions need to be taken in the present to reduce the risk of failure in the future in the event of multiple plausible futures (Scenario Planning Strategy Tube, 2009). By analyzing these scenarios and determining which strategy best mobilizes the enterprise for most or all of them, a broader and more flexible base is built to address in advance potential effects of future contingencies.

To answer the question then, it can be argued that the purpose of scenarios is not to predict the future, but rather to develop and discuss a variety of plausible alternative futures, such that the enterprise can be better prepared to deal with them if and when even part of these scenarios takes place.



  1. professornikidavis

    A good and concise view and what was requested, thank you. But there is one omission that you are advised to fix: “in several of the references” weakens this enormously and there is no direct citation of the mOOC either. Please add in brackets the name and year of at least a few of those references that have influenced your view here.

  2. Wayne

    Hi Irwin,

    Where do you find the time? That’s a model answer. I agree, the centralisation / decentralisation organisational approaches under the different scenarios is worthy of well-founded reflection.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s