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Scenario Planning

We can’t tell you what the future will be, but we can help you figure out what it could be . . . and what that means for your institution.

What is scenario planning?

Scenario planning glossary generates multiple well-crafted contradictory narratives about the future to anticipate possible outcomes of environmental forces with the potential to impact an institution.

To be clear, scenario planning does not predict an uncertain future. Instead, scenario planning scans glossary and analyzes the environment to identify potential outcomes and how they might impact a college or university. Scenario planning helps colleges and universities prepare for the future.

Scenario planning is a versatile process. It can sketch out how large, global forces might play out in the next 20 years, or it can identify how trends might impact a specific department or initiative in the next six months.

Why do it?

Scenario planning can prevent you from being blindsided by events, forces, or trends. This is why it’s often used in the military to deal with VUCA glossary (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) situations, and what makes it well-suited for recovery or response planning.

Because scenario planning requires you to look outside your institution to analyze current forces and trends, it identifies and questions your assumptions about the future and your institution’s place in it. This makes it a good companion to strategic planning. Scenario planning before your strategic plan can help inform decision making, and scenario planning after strategic planning can help you prepare for implementation hurdles and assess the ongoing validity of your plan’s aims.

Scenario planning can be done at just about any time. These times in particular are helpful:

  • Disaster preparedness planning
  • Before contingency planning in response to a disruptive event
  • Before strategic planning
  • After strategic planning
  • Before deciding how to respond to long-term threats, like the demographic cliff or climate change

Why is SCUP’s solution unique?

Integrated planning focuses on collaboration, alignment, and readiness for change. Taking a collaborative approach to scenario planning ensures that each force or trend is looked at from many different angles. Aligning scenario planning to strategic plans and institutional operations makes it easier for your institution to quickly respond to future threats and disruptions. Finally, participating in regular scenario planning can help stakeholders across your institution think more strategically. Rather than relying on assumptions or what worked in the past, they develop skills to think critically about the future and how they can respond to change.

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