CHAPTER 11‘So what?’ — Positioning for the future

The limitations of contextual intelligence are exposed when novel environments emerge

‘Why don’t we offer them a scenario planning project?’ I suggested to the NSW Sales Manager at Foster’s in early 2006. ‘Them’ being one of our major customers, a large hospitality and entertainment business with multiple venues throughout New South Wales. I had been in my role as National Foresight Manager for about six months, and it had often occurred to me that our growing scenarios capability was something we might be able to take to customers as a value-add offering that couldn’t be replicated by our competitors. Upcoming contract negotiations for the next term of beer pourage rights provided the perfect opportunity to test my theory. Foster’s beer brands had a minority presence in these venues, and a favourable change in trading terms would be a great win for our NSW sales team and a huge boost to the profile of foresight within Foster’s.

The client’s management were excited, so we went all out. A three-day workshop was scheduled, venues were hired, catering was ordered, and flights and accommodation booked. We even hired a university undergraduate to record the entire three days with a view to editing a short film of our efforts — a snapshot of our unprecedented collaboration. No expense was spared.

Over three days, teams comprising executives from both organisations jointly created scenarios and considered responses for the decade ...

Get Rethinking Strategy now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.