Since the late 1980s I have been fascinated by scenario planning and particularly the way Royal Dutch Shell put this into practice. Even today – more than 45 years after Shell started with this it is still going strong. In the May issue of Harvard Business Review there is a very interesting article on this.
The key issue scenario planning is trying to tackle is this: breaking our habit of thinking that the future will look much like the present.
Scenarios are not predictions about the future, but are plausible, coherent stories about the future, which will open us up to see the weak signals of change and to then be able to discus these new realities with one another.
Since the early 1970s Shell went through 34 scenario exercises involving many as many people as possible. These exercises produced multiple stories about the future, so Shell has been living in 70 plus futures. Are you and your company living in futures?