Exploring how experience and learning curves decrease the time invested in scenario planning interventions

Ramirez, R. and Bhatti, Y. and Tapinos, E. (2020) Exploring how experience and learning curves decrease the time invested in scenario planning interventions. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 151. 119785. ISSN 0040-1625

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    Scenario planning is a strategy tool which is often deemed to be too expensive and too time intensive. Drawing on learning curve theory, we set out to ascertain whether enacting scenario planning as an iterative, repetitive process and not as a one-off intervention would help practitioners to do it faster. Through a global survey of the practice of scenario planning, we relate how we failed to confirm this proposition, but instead found other factors which appear to affect the time required to carry out scenario planning. Our research suggests that organizational factors, mainly size and prior experience in carrying out scenario planning in the organization, are statistically significant contributors to making scenario planning take less time than practitioners expected; and individual factors also affect this decrease. These individual factors mainly concern prior scenario planning experience, which -unsurprisingly- also significantly shortens the time used to conduct a given scenario planning intervention. The lessons we draw from these findings suggest that the time it takes to use strategy tools, and scenario planning in particular, can be shortened. With this research, scholars can better delineate criteria to enact strategy tools efficiently; and practitioners can better plan strategic initiatives by securing the necessary resources.