Paul de Ruijter – Scenario Based Strategy: Navigate the Future (Book Review)

June 6, 2015 13:30

Check out “Paul de Ruijter – Scenario Based Strategy: Navigate the Future” on Managementboek.nl (You are sponsoring the Dutch Future Society for free when completing an order via this link!)

By Freija van Duijne

zeilboot_01If you are new to strategic foresight or scenario planning, it can be very overwhelming. It contrasts with science, where you can work with data, hypothesis testing and making statements about a possible outcome. Science has models about how a system behaves and based on these people make projections on how the future might turn out. All of this aims to reduce uncertainty and to generate more confidence about where we are going. Strategic foresight on the other hand embraces uncertainty and helps you to examine it in order to prepare for eventualities. This so called “Living with futures” requires a different mindset than forecasting. In entering that space, it is very helpful to have a clear outline of the concepts, the process and success stories of organizations that have used this approach. Paul de Ruijter, together with Henk Alkema have delivered an excellent book for learning how to work with scenarios in organizational strategy.

In thinking about strategies for the future, the navigation metaphor is a very powerful one that helps you scan the horizon, develop a navigational map, use your compass, and navigate the steering wheel to avoid emerging icebergs. Carrying the name of the most famous Dutch Admiral in history, the navigation metaphor may almost seem inevitable. Navigation in the book itself is helped by powerful diagram that displays the broad sense of strategy. It outlines all the different elements of strategy from looking for trends, scenarios, and strategic options for actions and monitoring. Mission and vision development are also part of this.

The structuring of the book follows this diagram to address the different steps and stages of strategy development. All the topics are described in short and comprehensive paragraphs. De Ruijter presents many examples of scenario planning from his own practice, both in the private and public sector, which help you to see how this approach works in practice.

Scenario planning is a process of learning by engagement. Insights are generated by users and stakeholder communities. In the same manner, I believe the ideas presented by this book can be best understood by doing more than just reading the content. When using it in a training course it provides an excellent background reader for conversation on this material. Then training practice can be a similar immersive learning practice as scenario planning itself. I recommend using this book by everyone who wants to learn more about scenario planning and strategic foresight, especially in engaging with others on this field.

Check out “Paul de Ruijter – Scenario Based Strategy: Navigate the Future” on Managementboek.nl (You are sponsoring the Dutch Future Society for free when completing an order via this link!)

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