Scenario Planning: The Focus of the Scenario Planning Focal Question

Scenario Planning: The Focus of the Scenario Planning Focal Question

The Focus of the Focal Question

Defining the scenario planning focal question is a crucial part of the scenario planning process. They act as a conceptual boundary. I see focal questions as a key determinant of strategic intent. If an organization isn’t willing to ask a concise question about the future, then they are just as unlikely to precisely define what they want to be in the future.

Focal questions should reflect the following attributes:

  • Domain specificity
  • Thought-provoking without disenfranchising the team
  • Very short so it crystallizes intent
  • Reflects the desired outcome: decision, development, exploration or innovation
  • Very precise
  • Provides boundaries for exploration
  • Provides a lens for research and interviews – should answer the question of “what we are solving for?”
  • Gives permission beyond the immediate need

For more on scenario planning see: Getting to the Matrix.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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