A recognized reference on the why’s and how’s of scenario thinking

A recognized reference on the why’s and how’s of scenario thinking

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Published in 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.—one of the largest business book publishers in the US— my guidebook Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future walks you step-by-step through the process of foreseeing the ways in which your “business landscape” may be different a decade from now, and making the appropriate decisions today that can prepare you and your organization for the changes potentially coming down the line.

A practical and very visual guidebook, it aims to help you:

  • Identify the trends that could play out over the next few years that could change your political, social, technological, managerial and economic landscape—and thus affect your business, possibly in very significant ways.

  • Explore the impact of these trends on your organization’s readiness and competitiveness, as well as the effect one-off events might have on you as well, such as the advent of a new technology, new legislation or regulatory changes, the arrival of a powerful new competitor in your market, or any other unexpected event that would change your specific landscape—or even the whole world.

  • Examine challenges that may by only dimly recognizable as potential problems today.

  • Generate and flesh out plausible scenarios that represent the alternative landscapes you may find yourself doing business in a decade down the road.

In other words, this book offers a succinct introduction to scenario planning, and if you can’t actually get me in front of your team to explain it all face to face, then reading my book is the next best thing!

You’ll find Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future in the business section of bookstores worldwide, and it can also be ordered on Amazon and most other online bookseller sites, too. It has been published in English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Bahasa Indonesia.

postscript: THE THOUGHTFUL JAPANESE REACTION TO my BOOK

To my surprise, the Japanese-language edition of Scenario Planning, published by Eiji Press in 2013, became the country's no. 1 best-selling book on Amazon.co.jp in the category "Books About Society" within a few days of its launch.

How did this happen, I wondered? The key to understanding its success there is the word “society”. The book was seen in Japan as a guidebook for addressing societal challenges. But wait, isn’t it a business book? What is the relevance of scenario planning to “society”, and why did the Japanese see it that way?

The answer is to the first question is Yes, I definitely wrote the the book with a business readership in mind. Hence my surprise.

The answer to the second question is more complex. In 2011, two years before Scenario Planning was published there, a devastating tsunami had traumatized Japan. It shook people to their core, and knocked them off-balance. Over the following months, the Japanese slowly came to the hard realization that life is unpredictable and the future is unknowable. Anything can happen, and you need to be mentally ready… and resilient. This period of introspection led them to an understanding that one way to think about the future is to accept the idea that very different landscapes might emerge over time. In short, a scenario approach.

Thus scenario planning was embraced there not only as a tool applicable in the business world, but also as a way to provide valuable insights to individuals thinking about their personal futures, too—and one that’s even useful for pondering how an entire country, and its people, might change.