The Futures Strategy Group has helped many enterprises to generate wholly new strategies from the ground up, usually using our scenario planning process as a foundation. Our “outside-in” approach and emphasis on the broader strategic context, together with our decades’ experience in turning uncertainty into a risk management tool, has enabled our clients to create competitive advantages they could not have discovered in any other way.
Problem: The client’s organization was operationally superb, beyond compare. But it was being turned upside down roughly once a decade by one major external event or shock after another that exposed their lack of awareness of, and preparedness for, unexpected forms of risk and opportunity. These shocks tended to force rushed reorganizations on the client in ways that both disrupted their ability to maintain operational excellence, and also to leave them even more strategically vulnerable to the next big shock to come.
Solution: United States Coast Guard “Evergreen” enterprise-wide scenario based strategic planning not only helped the service to identify the plausible range of future shocks to come, it also began to embed a strategic future focus across the entire organization. Literally hundreds of up-and-coming officers, enlisted, civilian, Reserve and Auxiliary personnel have participated in the process over the past decade, either through interviews, attendance of workshops, or membership in the Evergreen Core Teams that helped to forge strategic insights and actions. This has helped to instill within the leadership of the Service a shared strategic intent that renders it less vulnerable to surprise and disruption and more adaptable to change in its external environment.
Problem: A financial services firm was facing major risks and opportunities as a result of government regulations, technology change, global competition, cost pressures and non-traditional competition. The stakes were extremely high – for the firm and its owners. The firm needed a plan for getting through the next five years, one that would prove to be successful no matter how the future turned out.
Solution: Scenario-based strategy development. We partnered with the client in creating a set of scenarios that explored an expansive range of future uncertainty — competition, technology, regulations, global market shifts, and more. The firm’s top executives, in a workshop setting, forged a set of common or “robust” draft strategies, including new technology acquisitions, tougher risk management standards, cost reduction and outsourcing, and improved relationships with regulators. Later, we took their board through a similar scenario workshop, validating the draft strategies and reinforcing of the need for urgent implementation.