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What are the Pros and cons of scenario planning?

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Firstly, it is again important to note that 'foresight' concepts differ from
'forecasting'. In the past, attempts were often made to predict (forecast) the future as
accurately as possible. However, different developments in related fields should
leave open several possible developments . The strength of
scenarios is that they do not describe just one future, but that several realisable or desirable futures are placed side by side (multiple futures).
• Secondly, scenarios open up the mind to hitherto unimaginable possibilities and challenge long-held internal beliefs of an organisation; moreover, the use of scenarios can change the corporate culture, compelling its managers to rethink radically the hypotheses on which they have grounded their strategy.
• Thirdly, scenarios are an appropriate way to recognise 'weak signals', technological discontinuities or disruptive events and include them into long-range planning; as a consequence, the organisation is better prepared to handle new situations as they arise and to promote proactive leadership initiatives.
• Fourthly, one function of scenarios beyond the planning aspect is improving
communication: scenarios can lead to the creation of a common language for dealing with strategic issues by opening a strategic conversation within an organisation;
• Fifthly, another function beyond the planning aspect is the coordinating function: during the scenario process the aims, opportunities, risks, and strategies are shared between the participants which supports the coordination and implementation of actions. In fact, the organisational learning and the decision making process is improved.
• Sixthly, the large number of different scenario techniques points out that the ways of building a scenario are very flexible and can be adjusted to the specific task/ situation.


Disadvantage:

The practice of scenario is very time-consuming. Therefore, there could be a wish to condense scenario building to a half-day or one day activity. However, this may not give participants enough time.
• A more qualitative approach has to put a strong emphasis on the selection of suitable participants/ experts, and in practice this could not be an easy task to fulfil. • Further, it should not be overlooked that a deep understanding and knowledge of the field under investigation is absolutely necessary. Data and information from different sources have to be collected and interpreted which makes scenario building even more time-consuming.
• It could be difficult not to focus on black and white scenarios or the most likely scenario (wishful thinking) during the scenario-building process.



Keith
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