So, why do it?

Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?


The benefits are in more than just predicting the future.

If that were the biggest benefit, we should just spend more time making a Martymobile!

So why do it?

Because it’s not all about the future. Scenario planning is just as valuable to us in our present day lives – where we often forget to appreciate, where we live in a routine not only physically but also in our minds, where we play out the same worries, the same hopes, the same fears. So scenario planning becomes a great thinking exercise in itself. It forces us to take the blinkers off, step outside our regular box and open our minds to more than just tried and true thought patterns. Bringing in viewpoints from totally random sources….poets, musicians, streetkids, monks….sharing experience and collaborating without a sense of hierarchy or esteem, enables us to live more richly now, today. We can all, no matter how open minded, creative or versatile we believe we are, benefit from the minds of others.

As Oliver Freeman says, scenario planning “takes [us] away from the trap” of prediction. With this, I would add it takes us away from the dangers of expectation. If we expect one future to happen, if we place all our thoughts on this, regardless of whether it be in a corporate or personal context, we are immediately setting ourselves up for a fall if this one particular thing we expect doesn’t eventuate. In allowing us the freedom to blend intuition with critical processes, to imagine multiple worlds, and to live just for a moment in each of these worlds, scenario planning frees us from the constricts we so often place on our minds.


5 thoughts on “So, why do it?

  1. Yes — It forces us to take the blinkers off. Great post!

  2. I loved your post – it made me think – heres my twitterings – tony

    Maybe contingency planning is a solution and variations of if that then do this – a policy planning or “rule’ book updatable in real time a Hitchhiker’s guide to the future – and isn’t that really the Internet with wikipedia to access stored knowledge – Facebook to experience the wisdom of crowds and google to explore the multiverses of information overload.I think Kahn academies, calacademy and TED are replacing the organs of knowledge propagation that were books, radio TV media and teachers before it came into being. The net was built by SP planners in the military to bypass nodally future disasters when the unthinkable happened and we were bombed in all major cities – still the C&C messages to retaliate could get through when control was gone and running on automatic the missiles could still fly in a MAD (mutually assured destruction scenario planned future)

    If prediction be a trap then what be though, planning anticipation let alone memory which uses the same areas neurons and processes in the brain to re create the past as an eternal present. Traps are where you get caught in the overreliance on one scenario. Though we can imagine multiple worlds its hard to ing=habit more than one at any one time given the corporeality of the body.

    i think being open to a wide range of informed and uninformed opinions is bracing – and the Net provides that in spades – see stumble upon or pinterest for RAM – but i wonder why we no longer trust the teachers the educators and the principals to plan for the future – maybe they are too wise to pay business yet again to diagnose their ills and provide corporate succor as filling as McDonalds and as nutritious as candy floss.

    i say let 1000 ideas, scenarios and memes bloom – it will make for interesting times


    • And we have to really ask ourselves, what does this word knowledge mean today? And what is the idea of ‘knowledge’ we cultivate in our schools? Are the two at odds, or do they sit happily together in the bathtub? :p

      Roll on those interesting times!

      • I think that is the key question of the MOOC, the time and this space – what is know ledge, the bit over the cliff of uncertainty to which we cling before a perilous drop. I think schools are the antithesis and not the synthesis of knowledge. I think the framework were once knowledge was is wisdom – perhaps the bath is the wisdom the knowledge poured through it – the bath time to meditate, be warmed and washed clean before we let it go for a new wave, flood, tap

      • The bath is the wisdom…the knowedge poured through it…I love this!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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