Tools to Predict Your Company’s Future: Scenario Planning and Crowdsourcing

As an innovation strategist at IdeaScale, I focus on helping our clients think creatively about how best to engage their crowd and leverage the wisdom of the crowd to source ideas for new products and services and improve processes.  I often share this quote by Wayne Gretzky “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” I have revised Gretzky’s statement to say “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.”

Scenario planning is a great way to visualize how your business landscape may change over time. In Scenarios, Beyond the Design Cycle, Michal Bobick states “Scenario planning creates a space to critically examine assumptions and emerging challenges related to products, users, competitors, or industries.

Scenario planning was brought to the forefront by the Royal Dutch Shell in the 1960 and 70s. The Shell Scenario process was used to help the Shell leaders stretch their thinking and make better daily decisions. Scenario planning “stress test” current strategies and encourage individuals to challenge assumptions by understanding various perspectives.

The below diagram illustrates how various catalysts might have on a scenario that produces various futures. As you can see, there is no single future but a variety of possible futures based on the impact of trends, events, and choices.

Predict Your Company's Future

Per Michael Bobick “Given the rapidly changing nature of technology, it is important that designers, researchers, and product managers examine an array of potential futures. Focusing on the future can be difficult, but it is worthwhile: companies that manage for the long term outperform their peers with increased revenue, earnings, and market capitalization.”

The IdeaScale platform allows companies to start the conversations among its employees and customers and experts about what the future of what a particular industry might look like. Through the use of campaigns or challenges, a company can engage its crowd by proposing a set of carefully crafted questions to get suggestions on a possible course of action. The goal is to collect ideas and surface insights to explore new opportunities.

Here are few scenario based campaign suggestions:

  • What might our company look like in 5-10 years?
  • What political, economic, social or technical trends will impact the way we do business?
  • How will our company’s current strategic objectives play out in the future?
  • What economic or environmental trends affect our ability to hire the right employees?

Want to learn more? Our team of Innovation Strategist is available to guide through setting up campaigns, thinking through scenarios and configuring the right questions to ask your crowd. Connect with us here

“The problem with the future is that it is different. If you are unable to think differently, the future will always arrive as a surprise.“ Gary Hamel

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Sonja Sulcer, Innovation Strategist at IdeaScale


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