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Scenarios: The Art Of Strategic Conversation

by Kees van der Heijden
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Product Details

  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
  • Publishing date: 24/10/1996
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780471966395
  • ISBN: 0471966398

Synopsis

"Kees van der Heijden has written the most comprehensive, detailed and insightful guide to understanding the business environment in a way most useful to business. No one has mastered the art of bringing that insight to bear in the real world of business with greater depth than Kees." Peter Schwartz, Chairman, Global Business Network; author of The Art of the Long View.

The only constants in the current business environment are turbulence and change. When initially developed at Royal Dutch/Shell, scenario planning helped companies understand external change ? change in markets, the competitive arena, technology, demographics and so on. In this book, Kees van der Heijden takes the art of scenario planning one giant step further. After showing you how to understand how the world around you is changing, he then shows you how to move your organization to meet the future by linking scenario thinking and your Business Idea in an ongoing strategic conversation. The result is a learning organization with the finely honed ability to track the marketplace and business environment. How Scenarios will help you think through the way forward, and keep you thinking as you move.

  • Understand the basis of an organizations success ? articulate its central business idea
  • Break out of the organizations restrictive "thinking box" ? take a wider perspective, scenaric view
  • Develop scenarios as alternative ways of interpreting the present ? see beyond current range of vision
  • Become clearer about the many apparently unrelated developments ? build a systemic framework using a story line
  • Be more secure with the future ? understand uncertainty
  • Do it by using a practical methodology
  • Nurture and sustain an ongoing strategic conversation throughout the organization
"The span of this book is unusually wide: it goes from the philosophy of scenario thinking to the minute practicalities of how to do it. This book is, in my view, the best guide in a field where it is easy to go astray and where guidance is precious." Pierre Wack, Former Head of Scenario Planning, Royal Dutch/Shell

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  • Comprehensive and Practical
    From Amazon

    I have found this book a delightful and enlightening read. I've been a fan of Scenario Planning since reading Peter Swartz's "Art of the Long View." This if the first book on the subject that i've read that actually provides the level of detail i wanted to see such that i could begin to practice scenario planning and incorporate the tools and language into my work environment. Great stuff.

  • Packed with Knowledge!
    From Amazon

    Many business books provide just enough information to whet executives' appetites for more advice accompanied by high consulting fees. Author Kees van der Heijden has written an exception. His comprehensive volume puts scenario building in historical context, explains its relationship to forecasting and tells you how to introduce scenario planning to your organization. Once you understand your corporate identity and your fundamental "Business Idea," he says, you can establish and enact informative scenarios that will prepare your company for several different versions of what lies ahead. In that way, scenario planning generates better decision making. We strongly recommend this book to top managers, strategists and planners, especially those who sense they're making decisions on the fly without having a structure for thinking deeply about future implications.

  • Written in stone, not in sand
    From Amazon

    I agree with the other reviewers, it is not a business novel. Fifteen pages per hour is a good score. However it is worth every minute. I recognise the strategy meetings that indeed most often strand in tactics at the very best. The idea of the Business Idea and the huge importance Kees lays on the need for an original, differentiating business element was for me the most important lesson. I am working for a 50 year old company, active in a domain that is under severe pressure of a rapidly changing business model,
    after years and years of 'innovation' around the same theme. This work was an eye opener.

  • More than just scenarios, a book on strategic thinking & mgt
    From Amazon

    Disclaimer: This review is one of the assignments in a graduate course on forecasting.

    First, I should say that this is an amazing book, but not necessarily an easy read. However, it repays the effort needed. A previous reviewer commented on the difficulty of the writing. I find the same thing, but it can be marked down to the Dutch/German writing style, which is both compact and tends toward longish sentences. Essentially this means that some sentences have to be read twice before the idea is absorbed. Let me be clear, this activity is well worth it!

    This book is more than just about scenarios, offering a convincing and comprehensive understanding of how scenarios can and should be used as a form of strategic management.

    Along the way, the reader is treated to clear and helpful explanations of such things as "the business idea of an organization" (ch. 3), "articulation of the business idea" in scenarios (ch. 8), "option planning" (ch. 11), and "the management of change" (ch. 12), among others.

    Overall, scenarios as practiced and understood by Van Der Heijden (who spent 35 years at Shell and 6 years as an academic before writing this book), are useful tools. They are foremost organizational tools which are best used by entire organizations, not the solitary planner at their workbench.

    If you want to understand how the future can be more accurately perceived (though not predicted), and how organizational learning can actually happen, then this is a worthy addition to the library of any management strategist or student of the future.

  • Great content but writing style makes for hard reading
    From Amazon

    Frankly I'm surprised at all the glowing reports without someone mentioning that this isn't the easiest book to read. Not that the language is difficult. Rather the sentences are long and often unclear, and there are too many reference to past and future chapters.

    I'd suggest reading a few paragraphs before purchasing the book. You might find that this book is not for you -- it didn't do anything for me. I gave up half way through the book, maybe there was more value in the second half.

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