Decision making and planning under low levels of predictability : enhancing the scenario method

Wright, George and Goodwin, P (2009) Decision making and planning under low levels of predictability : enhancing the scenario method. International Journal of Forecasting, 25 (4). pp. 813-825. ISSN 0169-2070

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Abstract

In this paper we review and analyse scenario planning as an aid to anticipation of the future under conditions of low predictability. We examine how successful the method is in mitigating issues to do with inappropriate framing, cognitive and motivational bias, and inappropriate attributions of causality. Although we demonstrate that the scenario method contains weaknesses, we identify a potential for improvement. Four general principles that should help to enhance the role of scenario planning when predictability is low are discussed: (i) challenging mental frames, (ii) understanding human motivations, (iii) augmenting scenario planning through adopting the approach of crisis management, and (iv) assessing the flexibility, diversity, and insurability of strategic options in a structured option-against-scenario evaluation.