Over the course of the 20th century, uncertainty has been increasingly framed as ‘risk’, which can be quantified and essentially controlled. Whilst previously policymakers and organisations acknowledged uncertainties before making decisions, there has been an ongoing practice of airbrushing out the ‘here be dragons’, or future uncertainties, which is potentially the largest risk that today’s policy makers face.
“Three Horizons: a pathways practice for transformation”, co-authored by Bill Sharpe of NormannPartners and the International Futures Forum, describes a pathways approach to futures thinking. The approach is underpinned by a simple framework for structured and guided dialogue around patterns of change.
By Rafael Ramirez, Steve Churchhouse, Alejandra Palermo and Jonas Hoffmann
Rather than trying to predict the future, organizations need to strengthen their abilities to cope with uncertainty. A new approach to scenario planning can help companies reframe their long-term strategies by developing several plausible scenarios.
This paper proposes that relating scenario planning with early warning scanning provides firms with synergic capabilities that help frame top management attention on possible future contexts and how they might unfold.
The article, written by Rafael Ramírez, Leo Roodhart and Willem Manders, describes the steps Shell managers took to keep their innovation innovative after the original establishment of the GameChanger system, by setting up its ‘innovation coalition’ as a network in its own right, and by reorganising its portfolio of 85 projects into half-dozen ‘domains’.