A New Approach to Scenario Planning: Procurement Strategy Design (Part 2)


When I’ve worked with teams in the past on scenario planning exercises in procurement and other areas, I’ve seen how events can play a critical part in shaping the thinking of a group. For example, by having teams vote different events as “likely / unlikely” and judging how events support or do not support particular scenarios, it becomes possible to build a collective viewpoint within an organization not only on how the future may unfold, but also on which particular events may signify certain resulting scenarios.

In creating scenarios, it can also be useful for teams to create a scoring matrix or 2/2 for events, dividing up the events they create during a scenario workshop into four distinct buckets based on the level of influence the organization can have over the events and the attention they should pay to each one. The diagram below illustrates these four quadrants:


In addition to considering events and procurement scenarios independent of each other, one of the final steps in a scenario planning exercise is to look at them as collective systems. There are numerous ways one can go about this creating what we can term “scenario systems.” Below are four examples of specific end-state systems or types (each shape refers to a different scenario – e.g., A, B, C, D, or E).


Scenario systems: towards a meaningful synthesis

Remember, these shapes and systems refer to the individual scenarios we explored previously in this series (e.g., A could be the “square”):

5 scenarios

Here are two examples of scenario systems I’ve seen teams develop in the past:

pic 1

pic 2

Hopefully this series on scenario planning and procurement has piqued your interest in a topic that I believe should get far more attention as a strategic planning tool to bring teams together in preparing for the future – and ideally helping shape it. If you’d like to see us do more with scenarios on Spend Matters or have questions about how to use them, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

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