SSE MBA Executive Format
Module name and time
Scenario Planning, January 23-24, 2014
Dr. Robin Teigland
Department of Marketing and Strategy
Stockholm School of Economics
General aims and themes*
Organizations operate in macro-environments characterized by a high pace of change along a number
of factors, such as political, economic, sociological, and technological. Organizations that anticipate,
plan, and prepare for future changes are those that generally are able to improve their competitive
advantage to reap the rewards from volatile environments. Thus, the primary objective of this module
is to introduce scenario planning: the process that stimulates imaginative, creative thinking to better
prepare an organization for the future. The module will provide an overview of scenario planning
processes and will enable participants to develop their own understanding of and skills related to
scenario planning through applying frameworks, concepts, and methods in today's dynamic
Intended learning outcomes
1. To experience the process and challenges of scenario planning and its strengths and
weaknesses as a technique for assessing and anticipating the future
2. To gain an understanding of political, economic, sociological, technological, environmental,
and legal trends and their interrelationships
Learning activities & pedagogy
I will conduct the module more like a seminar in which my role will be as a moderator, questioner,
and facilitator. The module involves a variety of activities such as lectures and discussions using preassigned readings, in-class exercises, and a group exercise and presentation.
Please bring your computer/tablet PC to each session as we will conduct in-class exercises using
the internet and powerpoint. (If you do not have a computer to bring to class, then please sit next to
someone in class who does.) In addition, you will be required to use library resources, the internet,
and potentially other electronic media to conduct the necessary work for the module.
An open and sharing environment at SSE and beyond
I would like to encourage everyone in the class to share related module information with people in
your own group, in other groups, and people outside SSE. You can use the twitter hashtag –
#SSEMBA2014 to share interesting sites and information you find related to the module on twitter
(tweetdeck or hootsuite is a good twitter app).
Read the required readings below. You may also browse and/or read the optional readings.
Learn about the PESTEL framework (see below under readings) and start thinking about
these different trends and how they are impacting your company and industry now and how
they might impact your company and industry during the next 3-5 years.
Read the UPS Case and come prepared to answer the following questions:
What are the strengths and weaknesses of scenario planning?
What is your evaluation of UPS’s 1997 scenario planning exercise? Its Horizon 2017 planning
exercise? How do the two efforts compare?
What are the other key elements of UPS’s approach to strategic planning? In particular, what is
your evaluation of the UPS charter? The Centennial Plan? The Strategy Road Map?
Why was John McDevitt put in charge of “strategic integration?” Should he remain in that
How does UPS’s strategic planning process compare with the approach at your organization?
Thursday, January 23, Afternoon
Class lecture and discussion of assigned readings and UPS case. Guest lecture by Dr. Mats Lindgren,
Founder and CEO of Kairos Future (http://www.kairosfuture.com/en) and author of Scenario
Planning: The Link between Future and Strategy.
Friday, January 24, Morning
Group work on scenario planning and group presentations and discussions. Participants will work in
groups to conduct a scenario analysis for a company for which one of the group members works or is
interested in learning more about.
• A Note on Scenario Planning, Harvard Business School.
• Strategic Planning at UPS, Harvard Business School Case.
• Six Rules for Effective Forecasting, Saffo, P. Harvard Business Review, 2012.
• The Current State of Scenario Development: An Overview of Techniques, foresight, 2007.
• Read about the PESTEL analysis (also known as STEEP, PESTLE, PEST, STEP) framework
on the internet, e.g., http://pestel-analysis.com/.
Optional Readings (in no particular order)
• Scenario Planning: The Link between Future and Strategy, Lindgren, M. & Bandhold, H.
• Eyes Wide Open: Embracing Uncertainty through Scenario Planning, July 22, 2009 in
• Getting into Your Competitor’s Head, H. Courtney, J.T. Horn, & J. Kar, McKinsey Quarterly,
2009, 1, http://bit.ly/ReMZ1X.
• The Ambidextrous Organisation, J. Birkinshaw. AIM Report, http://bit.ly/S02Gen.
• Scenario-based Strategy Maps, F. Buytendijka, T. Hatch, & P. Michel, Business Horizons,
2010, 53, 335-347, http://bit.ly/Sm5srs.
• The Black Swan: The Impact of the highly Improbable, Taleb, N. Random House Publishing
Minitrends: How Innovators & Entrepreneurs Discover & Profit From Business & Technology
Trends: Between Megatrends & Microtrends Lie MINITRENDS, Emerging Business
Opportunities in the New Economy. Vanston, J. H. & Vanston, C. Technology Futures.
Trends in Connectivity Technologies and Their Socio-economic Impacts, J. Cave, C. Van
Oranje, R. Schindler, A. Shehabi, Ph-B. Bruscher, N. Robinson, Final report of the study:
Policy Options for the Ubiquitous Internet Society, For DG Information Society and Media,
Foundations of Futures Studies, History, Purposes, and Knowledge - Volume I, W. Bell. New
Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Anatomy of a Trend. H. Vejlgaard. McGraw-Hill.
The Trend Forecasterʼs Handbook. Martin, R. Laurence King Publishers.
The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective
Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations. Surowiecki, J. Anchor Books.
Additionally, you should regularly read strategy and future-related articles in publications
such as the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Wired, etc., as well as on online
sites and blogs such as Mashable, Six Pixels of Separation, etc. I also encourage you to use
Twitter applications, such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, and groups/online forums such as
those on Facebook and LinkedIn, to follow strategy-related topics.
There is no formal assessment of “Scenario Planning”.
Please note that I reserve the right to change this description.
*This description was inspired by a Scenario Planning Exercise from the University of Albany.