A frequently cited principle of forecasting is to look back twice as far as one looks forward. Today follows yesterday, and tomorrow today. As anyone working on innovation and change knows all too well, engagements with the future cannot avoid encounters with the past.
Let’s take a look at past and future through the lens of that iconic and ubiquitous foresight tool: the 2×2 scenario-planning matrix. The 2×2 was famously used at Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s as one approach for speculating on a changing oil industry environment, and again in South Africa at the 1991-92 Mont Fleur gatherings as part of a process to enable trust-building among diverse community and national leaders. After these experiments, its use was propagated by the consulting firm Global Business Network. These days, the 2×2 is featured in popular innovation toolkits such as Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers and 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization.
The standard 2×2 scenario process goes like this. Read more »