Intro -- Alfredo Gusman LO18104

Alfredo Gusman (
Thu, 14 May 1998 10:40:06 -0300

I'm a 22 year old student actually living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I'm
currently working on a kind of thesis paper, which is the final step for
achieving the Business Administration degree at the local "Universidad de
San Andres". I'm focusing my work on the study of "scenario planning"
since I found this method is almost unknown in my country. I'm
particularly interested in the connection between the scenario technique
and the learning organisation theory, since authors like Kees van der
Heijden and believe this method can foster the institutional learning
process. Your discussions had been very useful for my study, and I thank
you all for that.

My research included the study of Royal/Dutch Shell's Argentinean branch
and it's scenario planning approach. This was actually the only local case
I found, so I feel my study is somehow limited. However, I have almost no
experience in research, so I think it's a good starting point.

Although I read a lot of theory about this subject (Wack, van der Heijden,
de Geus, Kleiner, Schwartz, Schoemaker, Kahane, I. Wilson, A. Schriefer,
Fahey & Randall, etc) I didn't find too many international examples of big
corporations (as Shell) practicing it ?Why do you think scenario planning
isn't so widely used? ?Do you think it is useful only for some
organizations (like energy Companies) which plan for the very long-term?

Last month, I had the chance to attend C.K Prahalad a seminar, which took
place in Buenos Aires. I was glad he briefly answered me the following
question, which I like to share with you (the transcription is not literal
as I took notes of the answer).

What do you think about scenario planning as a method for learning from
the future in a world of discontinuous change? Do you believe in its
capacity to foster perception and interpretation of reality by challenging
managers' mental models?

He answered: "Yes and no. In one way, scenario planning is an efficient
tool for stretching key assumptions that managers have about the future of
their markets. It's a method originally developed at Shell, because they
depend too much on few very uncertain variables, as the price of oil. I
believe that it fosters change of assumptions in those cases. However, I
think that when companies face discontinuous change and radical
transformations, even the use of scenario planning is not enough. We need
more that scenario planning. In the traditional approach, we conceive the
future extrapolating past with no breakthrough thinking. Our approach
suggests that you need fold the future to create your desired future,
rather than adapting to possible futures"

Do you think this is the reason why high tech companies don't seem to be
using scenarios? I'm looking forward to receiving your comments on this
subject. Thank you for your precious time.


Alfredo Jose Gusman
Universidad De San Andres
Buenos Aires


"Alfredo Gusman" <>

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