Are you responsible for developing the strategy that will lead your organization to success in the years to come? A scenario generation workshop can give you and your management team valuable insights into the potential changes ahead.
In a burst of energy, the key people charged with ensuring your future competitiveness can find their eyes opened to different - even previously unimagined - opportunities and challenges. Here is what some recent clients of mine had to say about the process, and about me as facilitator:
" My team and I had the pleasure of working with Woody Wade to examine potential threats our country might face a decade from now. Woody's experience and knowledge was obvious in his approach to delivery and in his facilitation of the workshop, which forced us to think about the future in ways some of us had not in the past. The alternative scenarios that we generated provided us with a better understanding of what the future might realistically hold – for our unit and the country as a whole. It enabled my team to think beyond the ordinary planning thought systems, gain a better understanding of how the future landscape might evolve, identify opportunities and challenges that could arise, as well as design appropriate threat mitigation procedures. I would highly recommend Woody to any organization that is really interested in a long-view approach to decision-making.
- David Anyanwu
Manager, Integrated Threat Assessment Centre,
Office of the Prime Minister
Trinidad & Tobago
"We asked Woody to conduct a workshop at our company's annual General Management Meeting to generate scenarios for our firm within the global oil and gas industry 10 years in the future. Because we were a big group (over 200 participants), Woody brought in a partner who hooked us all up to an electronic brainstorming system, which really enhanced the interactivity, and the volume and speed of responses.
The exercise culminated in a separate wrap-up session where Woody presented the key elements of the scenarios we had generated, and our CEO commented on the strategic implications of each one. A very interesting process, and feedback was excellent from all sides. We appreciated not only Woody's thinking and on-stage style, but also the innovation and planning he put into making the workshop a success. Very professional, and a lot of fun, too!"
- Johanna Strengers
Global Brand and Event Manager
“Augmented Reality in 2020 is a project developed for the IEEE, and it is highly successful in no small measure as a result of the support we received from Woody. Working with Woody, we have a better understanding of the risks and the possibilities, and are taking actions in preparation for the future. Everyone is very pleased with the high quality workshop results we achieved with his help.
Woody is skilled in the art of lively debate. His approach and experience permitted our group to challenge conventional wisdom and develop our preliminary scenarios in less than a day. We look forward to working with him again soon.
- Christine Perey
“Scenario planning is a set of tools used to systematically draw forth latent creativity in order to envision the future and lay out practical steps to prepare for it. Woody Wade brings extensive business experience and delightful wit to presenting these tools. In a workshop on ‘The Future of ISIS’ at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Woody imparted useful procedures to a diverse group of policy analysts, action officers, and activists in a highly instructive, yet entertaining way. His dynamic presentation style was very engaging and learning-oriented.
Thanks to his facilitation, I now have a pragmatic repertoire for anticipating the future, personally and professionally. I recommend every organization embrace scenario planning, and Woody Wade's approach, as a tremendous benefit for strategy development.”
- Tim Haffner,
US Africa Command,
Counter Illicit Trafficking Division
“We recently did a scenario planning exercise with Woody. Not ever having done this kind of thing before, I found it stimulating, thought provoking and all round worth the effort. We learnt so much about the process and why we should be planning for the future. I would definitely recommend Woody for anyone wanting to plan ahead.”
- Katherine Gubbins
It was a pleasure attending the scenario planning workshop conducted by Woody Wade. The participants included Director Generals and Presidents of various government departments and agencies in Ras Al Khaimah. They expressed their high appreciation of Woody’s style, the depth of his knowledge, and his kind character. I recommend his workshops for senior and top managers who want to make a brighter future for their organizations.
Dr. Naceur Jabnoun
Sheikh Saqr Program for Government Excellence
Ras al Khaimah, UAE
“Here in Japan, Woody and I launched a new community, called ‘The Strategy Club’, inviting senior strategy officers from several major companies in Japan to join us in the future-thinking world. In our first session together, Woody demonstrated the power of scenario thinking by enabling the participants – who came from several diverse segments of the Japanese economy – to visualize and describe 4 different ways the ‘Future of Japan’ could unfold. Everyone was truly impressed that he was able to grasp the inter-relationships between so many potential driving forces so quickly, and foster a consensus among us all on the country’s critical uncertainties for the year 2024: a big ‘Aha!’ experience for everyone.”
- Takahiko Nomura
CEO, Future Sessions Inc.
Kanazawa Institute of Technology
“Medair is a humanitarian relief and recovery NGO providing a range of emergency services to relieve suffering for those in crisis in some of the most devastated and remote places. We focus on health care and nutrition; safe water, sanitation, and hygiene; and shelter and infrastructure.
Woody led a scenario planning day with a group of Medair people and some outside participants who provided fresh perspectives. It was a very useful and productive exercise that allowed us to step back from our normal strategy and planning process in a structured way. The scenarios we developed provide us with a head start on being prepared to adjust our strategy and plans going forward. One of our field leaders who participated found the exercise so useful that we did it again with a more specific focus on local scenarios that could play out in one of our most complex country programmes.
We were very impressed with how Woody adapted the approach and process for the humanitarian and NGO context in which we operate. He guided the discussions and thinking well – keeping us focused and also encouraging new thinking. All said, his scenario planning approach is now another tool we have for continually improving how we serve the most vulnerable.”
- James Jackson
Executive Office Director
“Woody conducted a full-day scenario planning workshop for a group of our senior executives. He was highly engaged throughout the process and took the time to understand our business, the audience, and our priorities. The result was a provocative and highly relevant event.”
- Tim Tobin,
Global Learning and Leadership Development
“The International School of Lausanne had a session with Woody to explore the changing school environment in the Lake Geneva region and consider ISL's position within it. Woody led the Board and some staff members through the process of identifying the key trends in private school education and how to develop possible scenarios for the future. The value of the workshop with Woody was in the team building, gaining a better understanding of our current strategy, and developing an awareness of how we may choose to evolve in the future. Feedback from all participants was excellent.”
- Rosalie Hoffmann
Chair of the Board
International School of Lausanne
“Our Middle East & Asia General Managers meeting in Bangalore benefitted from Woody’s ‘Scenario Planning’ session, an engaging and very informative take on envisioning possible situations and preparing for them. These perspectives, understanding how to identify trends and dealing with critical uncertainties, are very important in both the dynamic hospitality industry and the ever-changing global environment we operate in. Our leaders had a wonderful time in presenting their ideas in creative ways, combining serious business with fun.”
- Andreas Mattmuller, COO
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts
Middle East & Asia, Dubai
As an alternative, instead of looking at overall strategy, a workshop can also focus on how a specific business issue or challenge might evolve. For example, you can use a scenario generation approach to map out different market environments in which a new product will be launched, and visualize different competitive reactions it may trigger. In this case, the goal is to generate an array of potential futures so you can develop a launch plan that is as flexible as possible and as resilient in the face of competition as it can be.
Another productive use of scenario planning is as a team building exercise. A group of executives spends some real "quality time" together discussing, exploring, arguing and ultimately agreeing on the possible directions the future may take. Based on these insights, we then generate a portfolio of realistic scenarios together, and the group hones its creative skills further by crafting a profile of each of the futures they postulate.
Scenario planning is exciting!
Do the participants in such an exercise need to be the executives charged with developing the organization's strategy? No, not necessarily. In team building mode, the exercise aims to get the group thinking strategically together, riffing off each others' ideas, and using imagination, creativity and a solid understanding of their organization's capabilities and mission to jointly visualize the future(s) that may be out there - and which they may be confronted with in their careers
Scenario planning helps you see the way forward!
Your facilitator will be Yours Truly. (More info on my background is here.) Interested? Contact me and let’s discuss how we can develop an effective workshop together, based on the time and budget you have available.
There's an overview here of the different ways I could work with you, and/or your team, to look at the future.