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Strategising: Towards the integration of system modelling with scenario planning

Burt, G. (2008) Strategising: Towards the integration of system modelling with scenario planning. In: Operational Research Society Conference, 2008-09-09 - 2008-09-11. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Successful strategy is about being different. Successful strategy emerges from the creation of new knowledge and insights before others. Interventions have long been accepted as an approach to support strategising in organisations. Successful interventions are therefore measured by the new knowledge and insights that they create. Such new knowledge and insights should in turn help in the navigation of the organisation as part of management's ongoing development of (successful) strategy. For many managers may not be aware of the unfolding situation within which their organisation operates in, until the unfolding situation springs a surprise or jolt. Successful interventions should therefore create new knowledge and insights that enable management to avoid such surprises or jolts. This paper presents a longitudinal case study that proposes the integration of system modelling within the scenario planning approach as a platform for strategising. Scenarios are stories of plausible futures that link the past to the present to the future. The purpose of scenarios is to identify systemic change in the unfolding situation, defined here as predetermined elements. Predetermined elements have inevitable outcomes. System modelling identifies the system variables, their inter-relationships and behaviour over time, modelled as feedback loops, from which the logic of systemic change is identified. By integrating systems modelling within scenario planning it is possible to identify predetermined elements in the unfolding situation. It is argued in the paper that knowledge and insights about predetermined elements is one basis of successful strategy.