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.