Working with Uncertainty
Work out the Challenge
Scenario Planning is a well established technique which encourages you and your team to develop a number of possible future visions. It is an exploratory approach which will help to free up thinking for teams that have got stuck in the mud of uncertainty.
We have successfully facilitated workshops that have help teams to explore a number of possible futures. These are not predictions of what will happen, they are realistic possibilities of what might happen. The process encourages us all to go beyond usual patterns of thinking and to break down assumptions about the future.
The first step in the workshop is to define the possible futures and then explore what that means to the team. Once these different "worlds" have been explored you can work on identifying proactive actions to work on. The work also gives some really clear signposts to look out for and a sense of where those signs might be heading.
The facilitator’s skill is needed to encourage the group to avoid judging their predictions too soon. Possible ‘worlds’ are being described. Then the facilitator encourages the group to explore the same set of questions for all futures:
- If this scenario suddenly become reality, what preparation would have been really useful?
- What ‘lead’ indicators might signal that aspects of this scenario are emerging as reality?
Agree on Strategies
This analysis about possible futures will have highlighted actions that you need to take which will be relevant to some or even all of the scenarios so these are things to start getting up with. Some actions may only be relevant to one scenario, so the action is to look out for any signs indicating movement towards that scenario so you can quickly respond.
You have now started the management of uncertainty!