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.