Sunday, 4 August 2013

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

Scenario planning isn’t about predicting the future.  It is about considering possible futures, the challenges along the way, and preparing ways to work with or around the relevant effects these events may trigger.
By considering a variety of possibilities instead of just planning based on the current trend, organisations can prepare for the effects of event types. For example; there are a variety of major disasters that could occur, earthquakes, pandemics, floods, etc.  While it is impractical to plan for each disaster, it is sensible to prepare for the common effects these events would create – possible lack of communication, loss of power, isolation.  By considering the effects that different event types may create the organisation can be prepared to maximise positive opportunities and minimise the effects of negative events. 

Scenario planning also takes into account a wide variety of viewpoints. By looking at what is happening outside the organisation, as well as at all levels within the organisation, this model assists planners to have a greater perspective on what may impact the future. 

In my situation, this would be a very effective model to use.  I have a lot of knowledge around the trends in education, ministry aims and current issues at my school.  However using scenario planning, I would need to include a wider scope of ideas and viewpoints.  This could include including the perspective of current and former students, parents, Board of Trustees members, teaching staff, resources and technology providers, university and Ministry of Education advisors.  By considering these viewpoints and discussing possibilities with this wider range of people, I am more likely to identify a wider range of future possibilities and be able to be more prepared for the variety of event effects that will impact my school. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Megan,

    Good summary - which demonstrates your understanding of the purpose of scenario planning. Great point illustrating that it is impractical to prepare for every disaster but beneficial to generate scenarios for different disasters. While you don't cover this in your example, the point holds equally true for positive future scenarios. Just in case readers think scenarios are restricted to the negative "disaster" story lines ;-).