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Strategic Foresight

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Scenario Planning in Organizations by Thomas Chermack:

The first rule of the Futurist is: Do not make point predictions.

People who make predictions tend to say things like:

  • “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” Lord Kelvin.

  • “We will never make a 32-bit operating system.” Bill Gates

  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson

  • “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable.” Albert Einstein

So if a Futurist doesn’t make predictions about the future, what good are they?

In Scenario Planning for Organizations, Thomas Chermack explains how the techniques of Strategic Foresight are used to create multiple competing plausible scenarios. His book provides the most comprehensive explanation of the scenario planning process, applying scenarios once they have been constructed and then stress-testing organizational strategies within each of the plausible future states.

Scenario planning, followed to its logical conclusion, leads to science fiction writing. In my novel, Flight of the St. Paul, these techniques of Foresight are what the Rabban used to navigate the decade of the “Terror Twenties” and amass his fortune despite a global depression and limited nuclear war. For an example of Scenario Planning in action, read my series on the Foresight Scenario Test for the PIRA disaster relief organization that appears in my novel.

Book Cover: Scenario Planning in Organizations by Thomas Chermack
Book Cover: Scenario Planning in Organizations by Thomas Chermack



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