Here's how the article defined "scenario planning": it's "preparing responses to imagined changes in conditions." However, "'It's not about predicting the future,' says Peter Schwartz, a partner at Monitor Group, a Cambridge, Mass., consulting firm. 'Scenario planning is a tool for learning' and making better decisions."
My question: is scenario planning on an annual basis the right timetable to really enable a company to "react quickly to change?"
Given current conditions, I think annual planning isn't enough because conditions are so fluid, often in negative ways -- a reason to never take clients for granted.
On the other hand, we picked up a new client earlier this year, and our work for them has enabled us to pitch other, non-competitive companies in that sector, one which I would not have identified as a sweet spot six months ago. (We had the relevant experience, just had not seen much activity in that area for us.) The result: we're packaging our very current results and experience and placing a bigger bet on that sector.
We hold scenario sessions twice a year, and even that may not be enough. Some questions we consider include:
- What are current media trends? We compile these trends each year in Dec. for the following year.
- How might these trends impact our business, including our ability to generate media coverage? We then regularly brief our clients on our thoughts and recommendations.
- What trends are we seeing with our clients? We ask this on an individual client basis as well as on a macro level that includes prospects.
- What are clients asking us for -- and in what ways does this represent a change?
- What do we need to have in place to take advantage of potential changes?