|For many, the principal value of scenario work is its ability to create a shared frame of reference in an organisation. Others want to build internal skills for thinking about the business implications of uncertain futures.
These two goals were prominent in two assignments in Asia. In the first case, a large professional firm had grown by uniting a number of local Asian firms. In order to create a shared view of the future, members of the local firms came together to develop scenarios for the region as a whole. The process worked at both a formal and informal level, as people got to know each other better by collectively imagining challenging Asian futures.
The second assignment involved a state-owned company in a rapidly developing Asian economy. For several decades, the future had been very predictable: steady growth and increasing prosperity led by a strong clear-sighted government. However, this predictability had created an inflexible habit of mind just when global conditions were becoming more uncertain. The management team therefore commissioned a scenario project which explicitly aimed at training staff to think more broadly and imaginatively about their business and the conditions they might face in coming years.
Training in interviewing, scenario thinking, research and analysis is a fundamental part of Barbara Heinzen’s work in nearly all her projects.