Scenario Planning as a Organizational Tool

There seems to be a lot of advice about what to do when life throws you a curveball. And for someone like me, who is a planner, the unknown – and subsequent uncertainty of what the next month or year holds – can be unsettling. While vaccination is certainly providing hope to overcoming the pandemic, we certainly aren’t out of the woods yet – and many organizations across the country still face closures or are at risk of survival.

The pandemic, and other crises, taught me that information is power. It helps us to navigate uncharted waters and make better decisions.

Part of the instruction we are using for the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Nonprofit Resource Center courses centers on scenario planning. Different from strategic planning, scenario planning helps organizations identify the key drivers at risk (what keeps you awake at night). These key drivers set the stage for developing various scenarios (the best to the worst case), then creating a list of actions to manage against each scenario, and finally articulating the trigger points to know when – and how – to act. If your organization needs to consider options for survival and sustainability, The Bridgespan Group has a great tool to use for Scenario Planning

Our hope is that we can finally conquer this pandemic and move to a new normal in 2021. A time when travel is safe across the country and world, where theatres and museums are once again open, concerts are held, local restaurants serve up their specialty dishes, and we value all the special places and people who enrich our lives. In the interim, we will continue to identify and share resources to help businesses and organization soldier through the impacts of COVID-19.