Summary of The Scenario Planning Handbook

Developing Strategies in Uncertain Times

Thomson South-Western, more...

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The Scenario Planning Handbook book summary
Use scenarios to plan for the unknowable future – one alternative projection at a time


6 Overall

8 Applicability

6 Innovation

4 Style


Herman Kahn, brilliant strategist and game theorist, is the godfather of scenario planning. (He partly inspired Dr. Strangelove, the creepy character played by Peter Sellers in the 1964 madcap movie of the same name.) During the 1950s and 1960s, Kahn used the intellectual tool of scenario planning to examine and write about the horrific consequences of thermonuclear war. Originally a national military strategizing tool, scenario planning crossed into the business world during the late 1960s. It does not predict the future. Rather, strategists use it to examine and plan for possible futures. Consultants and futurists Ian Wilson and William K. Ralston Jr. are bona fide scenario-planning experts, however, they could have explained more plainly exactly how companies should handle the complexities of carrying out the process. Some examples are unclear and the text sometimes becomes dense. Still, getAbstract finds that leaders and managers can benefit from this useful overview of the subject, particularly the structure of the 18-step plan for conducting a scenario-planning exercise.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What scenario planning is
  • How your organization can use it to strategize “alternative futures”
  • What 18 steps your organization should follow to correctly conduct scenario-planning exercises


A Look at Contrasting Futures
Organizational leaders cannot really plan concretely for the future because too many variables await unseen around the corner of time. The future is a constantly shifting target. Indeed, as one pundit said, the future you plan for today will not be the one...
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About the Authors

Ian Wilson and William K. Ralston Jr. are futurists and consultants who assist corporations regarding strategic analysis, planning and execution.

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  • Knowledge Pack
    Prepare for what lies ahead by planning for alternative futures.

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