Scenarios: the tricky dynamics of the matrix

Making scenarios is easy. Standard recipe: do your PESTEL analysis; identify the key drivers that will shape tomorrow’s world; look for the two drivers that are at the same time the most uncertain and the most important ones; create your x- and y-axes on the basis of these; cook up four fancy titles for the four quadrants in the matrix that is defined by the two axes – done![1]

Or isn’t it? OK, using the deductive approach described above, resulting in a scenario-matrix, has some strong advantages. Continue reading

Evaluation Today – From Bullet Points to Business Models

What is evaluation? “Evaluation is a systematic determination of a subject’s merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards.” Says Wikipedia. So this is about determination, judgement, fact finding and then measurement against criteria. We all know these criteria: effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability etc. etc. And we all know the rationale for doing evaluations: accountability and learning, in mixed combinations. Let’s leave aside the accountability factor for now, even if unfortunately it can become the dominant force in evaluations in quite a few cases, often driven by relationships with donors. Let’s focus on the learning side. Continue reading

Old Lens – Shell Scenarios in Turbulent Times

Scenario planning is a strategy tool that helps organisations think about the future. Scenarios are not ‘predictions’ but the different narratives that emerge from scenario exercises can help organisations looking at the world in new and original ways. In a world that is probably more dynamic than ever, finding new perspectives and new language to interpret the world is a key asset.

Pierre Wack, who was one of Shell’s scenario pioneers, has in that sense beautifully described scenario planning as ‘the gentle art of re-perceiving’. Now an interesting perspective on scenarios in relation to business-as-usual perceptions can be seen in the New Lens scenarios that Shell published in 2013.[1] The analysis of the New Lens scenarios’ is a key element in Shell’s current reasoning in debates about climate change. Continue reading