It would be easy to think of scenario planning as a tool that is mainly useful to planners and decision makers in the business world. Corporations are typically interested in getting a handle on issues such as how consumer tastes and attitudes might develop, or how receptive markets might be to their new product ideas. So it would be natural to assume that such organizations are the main beneficiaries of scenario planning.

But this is shortchanging the potential value of the technique to so many other kinds of organizations, which can also use scenario planning to peer into the future and explore the alternative environments where, perhaps measuring success in different terms, they need to be every bit as effective as a business that is aiming to grow its market share or profits.

In the following part of the book, you’ll find four case studies illustrating how different types of organizations have used scenario planning to visualize the way their future landscape might develop. In each case, they undertook the exercise to generate insights about the opportunities and threats that would be likely to emerge in a key area of activity so that they could take the necessary steps today to prepare themselves for the potential changes afoot.

To show that scenario planning benefits many outfits besides for-profit businesses, I’ve intentionally chosen some unusual practitioners:

  • The World Association of Newspapers wanted to help its members understand ...

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