The purpose of this research is to explore the nature of change and the practices of foresight required to anticipate and to plan for change.
Part I provides a sketch of investigations of change and related areas of uncertainty and discontinuity. Part II provides a conceptual framework outlining four types of change: incremental, contextual, structural and foundational. Part III outlines the methodological distinctions required to explore the four types of change characterized here as normal and extraordinary foresight. Part IV combines these examinations to develop a structured approach to scenario analysis. Finally, Part V examines the implications of this work.
A structured approach to scenario planning explores four variations of evolutionary and revolutionary changes. It applies both normal and extraordinary foresight to explore the epistemological and ontological boundaries of change and to analyze the impact of shifts in ontological boundaries. While a structured approach applies established tools and techniques, it also directs our attention to areas where we can do more. It is an integral part of strategic foresight in a changing world.
This is a conceptual article based on over 25 years of practice in corporate strategy, including 10 years of work in scenario planning. It is also drawn from doctoral research on the epistemological and ontological boundaries of paradigms (Wayland, 2003), as outlined in Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn and Hacking, 2012).
Recent work examining the epistemological and ontological boundaries of change are linked with a practical framework and methodological distinction. These contributions are combined with a structured approach to scenario planning to improve the ability to anticipate and to plan for change.
This work draws on the author’s work with the founders and practitioners of Global Business Network (GBN), especially Lawrence Wilkinson, Napier Collyns, Jay Ogilvy, Peter Schwartz and Chris Ertel.
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