Scenario Planning to Drive Market and Competitor Monitoring Programs

In May of 2021, Fletcher/CSI, Contify, and SCIP conducted a webinar on using Scenario Planning to drive market and competitor monitoring programs. Webinar attendees came from a variety of industries, most were active in the Competitive Intelligence profession. In the session, we discussed how to avoid three key missteps in scenario planning:

Cherry Picking the scenarios

Not building in monitoring programs based on the scenarios

Not building in action steps based on the event triggers

The webinar used a retrospective illustration based on the future market for electric vehicles (EV) to illustrate scenario planning, indicator development, monitoring program implementation, and building action plans based on indicator attainment. During the webinar, a short series of polling questions were address.  In our polling question about the frequency of strategic plan updates, about 67% of webinar participants indicated that their company strategic plans were updated annually.

The webinar explored how to build scenarios that are realistic, based on current trends, and that present options for how the trends will drive market changes over time. Looking at different trend extrapolations helps to identify strategy options, which in turn can drive overall strategic planning. This frequency supports regular updates on trends using the STEEP (Society, Technology, Economics, Environment, and Politics) tool in scenario development to inform strategic planning. Polling around the use of scenario planning to build strategies indicated that 1/3 of respondents were not sure if scenario planning was used to develop strategies and another 1/3 were not sure as they were not engaged in strategy development.  Using STEEP and presenting a range of scenarios helps reduce the incidence of “Cherry Picking” only those scenarios that are favorable.

End scenarios were used to develop indicators to track events that must occur for the scenario to develop. Using the EV example, a few critical steps were presented as indicators that EV could become the dominate mode of transportation. In the webinar, the process to build market and competitor monitoring based on the indicators was explored and the importance of identifying specific actions to take when a trigger event is observed was discussed. A poll on the impact of scenario planning on market and competitor monitoring showed that fully 67% of respondents did not base monitoring on scenario planning but that such monitoring was focused on specific competitors and general market conditions. Build monitoring programs based on trigger events identified in scenario planning.

The final element of the webinar covered building actions steps based on when indicator triggers are observed. One key component to developing indicators is determining which events are significant, and thus require an action, and which are not. Incorporating a probability impact matrix into the indicator development component is a tool to establish which trigger events should have priority monitoring. Typically, the probability impact matrix is then used to identify significant events. However, among the survey respondents, only 21% reported developing measures of importance with stakeholders. Work with stakeholders to identify what is a significant event and have an action plan in place for when one is observed.

Scenario planning can be a powerful tool to drive strategy development and as a base for competitor and market monitoring programs. To increase the success of the tool, it is important to:

  • Use a variety of scenarios for regular strategy updates
  • Incorporate the CI/MI group into scenario planning and strategy development
  • Monitor for specific event triggers that indicate a scenario’s progress
  • Act when the event trigger is observed

To access the webinar, please visit our video here.

To discuss scenario planning and market monitoring please contact us [email protected]

Author: Erik Glitman, CEO Fletcher/CSI