Press Release

LEARNING FROM THE FUTURE is the first book to make scenario planning a valuable tool that any manager can use. To provide examples of scenario planning in action, the authors recruited 24 internationally known experts. They show how scenario learning trains business managers and government leaders to organize what they know and what they can imagine into logical, useful simulations for testing decisions about the future. Contributors are: economist Nariman Bahravesh, DRI/MacGraw-Hill; Thomas Bonnett and Robert Olson, advisors to organizations promoting effective government; Roy Hinton and Mark Paich, Burgundy Group; Adam Kahane, Centre for Generative Leadership; John Kania, Corporate Decisions; Brian Marsh, former Royal Dutch/Shell manager; David Mason and Robert G.Wilson, Northeast Consulting Resources; Stephen Millet, Battelle; Patrick Noonan and Mason Tenaglia, Planning Technologies; Charles Perrott and Charles Thomas, The Futures Group; Peter Schwartz, James Ogilvy and Kees van der Heijden, Global Business Network; Paul Schoemaker, Wharton Business School; and veteran management consultants Wayne Earley, Doug Randall, Audrey Schriefer(now known as Anika Savage), Ed Ward, and Ian Wilson.

“This book is the first comprehensive guide to the latest developments in scenario thinking written by today’s leading practitioners in the field.” –Napier Collyns, a pioneer of scenario planning at Royal Dutch/Shell, currently Managing Director, Global Business Network (GBN)

“In twenty years of helping companies create and plan for their futures, I have never come across a book that dealt with the use of scenario-based planning as comprehensively as this one.” –David Kelley, CEO, IDEO Product Development, the creators of the Apple Mouse

“This book is the greatest reference today on scenario planning — the preeminent tool for those who believe that the future belongs to those with the imagination to create it.” –David E. Schnedler, Director, Corporate Planning, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Nowadays, most managers still plan and invest based on past trends or on a forecast for a single, “most likely” future, one that is addressed in a corporate plan. Over and over, managers who prepare organizations for an expected future find themselves confused and disadvantaged when their organization is confronted with an unfavorable turn of events for which they are unprepared.

The alternative–scenario learning, a new management technique that leading organizations are using to beat their competition–is described by Liam Fahey and Robert M. Randall in LEARNING FROM THE FUTURE: Competitive Foresight Scenarios (Wiley, November 28, 1997, $34.95\Cloth). “Often…a future could easily have been anticipated, and if it had been, the organization could have readied itself to face the challenge. Any organization can learn how to manage its future strategically — that is, how to lay the foundations for tomorrow’s success while competing to win in today’s marketplace,” say the authors. This is the first book that shows managers how to prepare competitive foresight scenarios to get ready for industry transformations, customers’ new needs, as well as startling social and political change. These scenarios answer such questions as: What will customers need in the next decade? How will organizations adapt to business on the Internet? Which industries will be threatened by new competitors they don’t see coming? Which will be the most profitable businesses in our industry?

Scenario learning is a methodology for imagining and developing a set of futures–surprising, yet logical possibilities–that are relevant to the major decisions facing any organization. LEARNING FROM THE FUTURE shows how to adapt organizations to changes resulting from demographic shifts, the political consequences of economic conditions, and the market dynamics of technological change. The authors explore scenarios that foresee the emergence of new technologies, regulatory destabilization, actions of new or traditional competitors, new customers and their needs, new market combinations, new product ideas, and alliance opportunities. Case studies address:

• How consumer goods firms use scenarios to explore the effects of social, demographic and cultural change on customers and distribution channels.

• How high-tech businesses develop scenarios to examine futures where rivals from outside their industry or their technological domains could interact to form new competitive space or alter the terms of competition in their industry.

• How a health care company devised scenarios to explore its industry evolution.

• How a software firm developed a set of scenarios to understand what strategies its principal competitor might pursue under various industry conditions.

• How state leaders fashion scenarios around public crises and the interplay between technology, demographics, legislative outcomes and public expenditures.

ABOUT THE EDITORS: LIAM FAHEY, a consultant to U.S. and European firms, is an adjunct professor of management at Babson College and a visiting professor of strategic management at Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom. ROBERT M. RANDALL heads a San Francisco-based publishing business that operates management magazines. He writes management articles, books, white papers, and brochures. Fahey and Randall, formerly the editors of the strategic management publication Planning Review, are co-authors of The Portable MBA in Strategy (Wiley, 1994). They are collaborating on their third book for Wiley, Strategic Management Tools.

LEARNING FROM THE FUTURE: Competitive Foresight Scenarios Edited by Liam Fahey & Robert M. Randall John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Wiley books are available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-225-5945 (Canada, 1-800-567-4797).