October 25, 2012
How do you create a strategic plan when the future of your most important issues is uncertain? That’s exactly the problem that confronted participants in the Crystal Ball Workshop hosted by ASFE’s Emerging Issues and Trends Committee. The solution? Scenario planning, characterized by the Committee as “a powerful tool in planning for uncertainty: You don’t have to get the future ‘right’ from the outset. To make it work, you need to choose significant and relevant trends, and select appropriate ‘triggers’ for implementation of various strategies.” The economy and infrastructure funding were the two uncertain trends considered at the workshop and discussed in the new ASFE Practice Alert: No. 55, “Planning for an Uncertain Future.” (Trends considered certain were discussed in ASFE Practice Alert No. 53, “The Crystal Ball Workshop: Ten Certain Trends To Consider Now.”) The strategies developed – 30 of them – are categorized as “No Brainers” (those that make sense for all scenarios), “No Regrets” (strategies that work best for one scenario but won’t be harmful if another scenario plays out), and “Contingent Possibilities” (strategies that make most sense for one scenario, but could be harmful if others materialize).
The new Practice Alert is now available to ASFE members free of charge at www.asfe.org.