How can Scenarios Help to Prepare for Black Swans?

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How can Scenarios Help to Prepare for Black Swans?
Hans Zwaga
I wonder in what way scenario-management and future scorecards can help private and public organizations, but also individuals to become "prepared" for a Black Swan event. Is there somebody who can give some advise here?

Suit the Action to the Word and the Word to the Action (Shakespeare)
Dr Gary Jones, Member
Scenarios for an organisation are a combination of future events occurring bundled into one scenario e.g. the global financial crisis.
Scenarios give the organisation the ability to develop pre-planned responses within the organisation to minimise the effects of the combined scenario occurring.
This minimises ad hoc, superficial and reactionary decision making. Therefore minimising strategic management risks.
In preparation of scenario planning many subsidiary benefits can occur such as analysing change variables, defining drivers of change etc.
Where for example strategic planning is an educated guess on what might happen - scenario planning is plotting what will happen within the organisation if the scenario occurs.

Ancillary Benefits of Scenario Planning
Dr Gary Jones, Member
As in any theory and or hypothesis, there are streams of other theories and hypothesis sitting behind them. New works mostly have academic articles, theories/schools of thought and models to support their theories. Scenario planning and its implementation (strategic management) should be mapped out when the scenario is planned. This then needs to be measured on how successful the implementation was e.g. balanced Scorecard.
There are many uses and secondary benefits that can occur around scenario planning such as:
- Being a conduit to organisational planning,
- Defining drivers of change,
- Developing frameworks of change, and
- If you include the staff in the compilation of the scenario - less resistance to change will occur if the scenario plan needs to be implemented.

Scenario Planning as a Tool for Black Swan Risks
Wistano saez, Member
By definition, planning for uncertainty is futile; because we cannot plan for everything, we might as well plan for nothing.
However, "scenario planning" as portrayed by Kees van der Heijden can provide effective tools in planning amidst uncertain environments. Macro events that lead to uncertain outcomes can be identified and, through a creative process, scenarios can be envisioned to feed decision making.
I recommend the book by van der Heijden to anyone who deals with uncertainty and planning across 10-20 year lapses.


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