Strategic/Scenario Planning LO3642
Sun, 5 Nov 1995 00:22:43 -0500

Replying to LO3626 --

William Hillis in LO3626 discusses the value of strategic planning and
scenario planning -- good comments. But I have a big question, read on

William discusses the importance of using these tools (strategic planning
& scenario planning) to see trends or potential surprises in the future
environment (make that plural if you're doing scenarios). This seems like
the function of long range radar as it detects friendly and enemy planes
at a distance, giving those sailing into harm's way time to prepare.
Certainly this is useful. But it is not the same as having admirals think
about the possibilities of how to fight the next war or fight the next
peace --I'm not sure which is more threatening.

My local government experience has given me a slightly different
perspective about the value of strategic planning. Over the last 17 years
I've worked with leaders in two U.S.cities--Charlotte & New Orleans, plus
one large city in Poland. To corrupt the old GE expression, "process (not
product) is our most important product". The citizens- leaders-politicians
I've worked with seem to relish the opportunity to talk about their
possible futures. Unfortunately, the urgent business of government almost
always seems to displace the important business of engaging in these
healthy conversations about possible futures. So one key job of top staff
professionals, working with their Boards or Councils, seems to be to
script in times during the year for real strategic thinking and
conversation ( the annual retreat is great, but can barely deal with the
upcoming year). So, here's the BIG question, "how have other organizations
sucessfully created the right times/forums for these important
conversations about the future". And do you think this is as crucial as I

By the way,in addition to William's references on scenario planning, I'll
add three:

1. Wired Magazine, "Conspiracy of Heretics" by Joel Garreau
Nov. 1994

2. Wired Magazine," Scenarios - The Future of the Future
Special Edition, 1995 (on sale until Jan. 1996)

3. Sloan Management Review, "Scenario Planning: A Tool for Strategic
Thinking"by Paul Shoemaker, Winter, 1995

Larry Rosenstrauch
City Futures
Charlotte, NC