June 11, 2012

Why Scenario Planning Works

Patrick Marren
Partner

Say you have a strategic decision to make. And you have several experts giving you different expert opinions about how you should make that decision. And you are not an expert. What do you do?

This is hardly an academic question. In fact, it is a fairly good description of what top management has to do every day. Especially in this era of the Internet, experts can be found to disagree on everything from interest rates to global warming to whether it is raining outside. 

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May 25, 2012

Friday Scenario Warning: Check Your Ideology at the Door

Patrick Marren
Partner

In election season as in any other season, when making business decisions in conditions of uncertainty, ideologies can be deadly - and we all have them. Scenarios can help.

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May 11, 2012

Scenario Consultant Perspective: Friday's Naive Two-By-Two Matrix

Patrick Marren
Partner

Paul Krugman's column today induces us to create scenarios...it's what we do.

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May 04, 2012

Fault Lines: Two Years Later, Some Scenarios

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario fodder for the week: Raghuram Rajan's "Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy" won many awards as best business book of 2010. A couple of years on, it's worth examining Rajan's major theses to see how they have played out.

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April 25, 2012

Seams Like Old Times

Patrick Marren
Partner

"Silos" are an inevitable part of any organization; indeed, of any human activity. Even if you confine yourself to individual action, your own mind is thinking within certain categories, usually operating off a mental model that tells you what to expect - "If I do X, then Y will happen" - and what NOT to expect - Z or W or something completely different.

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April 20, 2012

Scenario Planning at FSG

Patrick Marren
Partner

What exactly does the Futures Strategy Group do? We help excellent organizations make better decisions under conditions of uncertainty -- mainly through the use of scenarios.

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April 13, 2012

Seven Wrong Things People Think About the Future

Patrick Marren
Partner

All along the untrodden paths of the future I see the footprints of an unseen hand. - Sir Boyle Roche

We who inhabit the Land of Scenariotopia (as a former colleague termed our little realm) think that the best way to predict the future is not to. That is, you should abandon the search for certainty and explore multiple scenarios of what might be. Many people don't do this, however. We find that lots of them subscribe, usually semi-consciously, to some or all of the following fallacies:

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October 02, 2011

Worried? Good. But Your Worst Nightmare Will Probably Not Come to Pass.

FSG partner Patrick Marren chronicles a century of late-summer anxiety…and wonders what it all means for the pressing worries of 2011. 

August 1911: The specter of Anarchism grips America. Anarchist Ben Reitman, disciple of Emma Goldman, counsels a rally of New York laborers to commit murder if necessary to bring about change: “If the rich thought that you would destroy their property or injure them, they would pay attention to the unemployed…. Your hope, I tell you, lies in your ability to injure society.” (N.Y. Times, Aug. 31, 1911)

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November 04, 2010

Recession, Recovery and Scenario Planning: Which Way Now?

by Patrick Marren and Peter Kennedy  

Alas, we are not manufactured, in our current edition of the human race, to understand abstract matters — we need context.

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January 25, 2010

McKinsey, Scenarios and Us

by Patrick Marren

The November 2009 issue of the McKinsey Quarterly includes an article by Charles Roxburgh entitled “The Use and Abuse of Scenarios.” It includes a number of good tips about scenario-based strategic planning, based on his experience in building scenarios over the past 25 years. It also highlights some important distinctions between his understanding of scenarios, and the way in which FSG has gone about creating and using them over the past few decades. And finally, it brings to the surface the urgent concerns of executives as they go about leading their organizations under uncertain conditions.

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