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{Excerpt} Scenario-building enables managers to invent and then consider in depth several varied stories of equally plausible futures. They can then make strategic decisions that will be sound for all plausible futures. No matter what future takes place, one is more likely to be ready for and influential in it if one has thought seriously about scenarios. Scenario planning challenges mental models about the world and lifts the blinders that limit our creativity and resourcefulness.

The future will not happen just because one wishes hard. It requires action now. Because nothing lasts forever and no product or service sells itself for long, small businesses and large organizations (individuals too, for that matter) have no alternative but to forerun the future, endeavor to shape it, and balance short-term and long-term objectives. This means that the short term calls for strategic decisions just as much as the long term. And so, strategic planning stands for the unremitting process of making decisions systematically with the greatest intelligence of their futurity, organizing the resources and efforts needed to carry them out, and measuring outcomes against expectations with feedback and self-control. Only then can one avoid extending carelessly past and present trends.


Suggested Citation

Serrat, O. (2010). Reading the future. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (