Scenario planning

"Building blocs of growth" comprising tessellating triangles of world events

Scenario planning is a powerful analytical tool for developing long-term strategies that are resilient and robust even under conditions of uncertainty.

Past performance is rarely a predictor of future outcomes. Economic and political powers will rise and fall; new technologies will revolutionise the way we work and live; and new growth patterns will reshape global trade and investment. By considering alternative futures and how they might be realised, we help our clients challenge their underlying assumptions, develop more resilient strategies and position themselves to thrive in a volatile world.

Scenarios are hypotheses about the future; they are causally coherent, internally consistent and descriptive. They are not predictions. Our scenario analysis methodology integrates the views of experts from across a wide range of disciplines, capturing the interaction between political, economic, social, business, environmental, technological and scientific developments.

We provide scenario frameworks and narratives based on regions or sectors of interest; interactive scenario analysis training or workshop facilitation; and stress testing. We also provide forward-looking organisations with scenarios as a thought leadership tool – helping those organisations to communicate long-term strategy or demonstrate awareness of dynamic macro developments.

Client team: Strategy

Issue: What will the world look like in 2020; how will changing dynamics affect the demand for confectionery and other food products?

Engagement: Trend analysis and scenario planning from our Advisory macro strategy team

Result: The client integrated this study into its long-term strategy, capturing new opportunities and mitigating future risks.

Client team: Financial risk

Issue: What economic scenarios over the next five years could adversely affect the client's balance sheet exposure?

Engagement: Plausible medium-term, high-stress economic scenarios from our Advisory macro strategy team

Result: The client adjusted its risk positioning and successfully underwent UK and European stress-testing reviews.

Client team: Government relations in a major utilities conglomerate

Issue: The client needs to protect assets over the long term in a country where one political figure has ruled for decades and macroeconomic crisis currently pervades.

Engagement: Macroeconomic, political and social scenario modelling from our Advisory macro strategy team,  to provide a clear sense of possible futures over the next five years. In each scenario, we identified key stakeholders within and outside government and put forward stakeholder engagement strategies.  

Result: The client identified and prioritised relevant external stakeholders so as to optimise its operations in all potential scenarios.

Client team: Strategy

Issue: A defence manufacturer wanted to make its strategic planning more responsive to long-term geopolitical change.

Engagement: Our Advisory macro strategy team developed three different global scenarios over a ten-year timeframe and assessed their likely implications on different regions. We anticipated two major inflection points (instability in the Middle East and a militarily resurgent Russia) and posited a third, the fracturing of global trade policy.

Result: The client was better able to prepare for global developments.

Client team: Strategy

Issue: What market opportunities and risks could arise from the acquisition of a wealth management company?

Engagement: Econometric analysis and scenario planning across 50 countries from the Advisory macro strategy team

Result: The client acquired the target for 15.5 billion dollars.

Client team: Strategy

Issue: A data management company wanted to understand how future demographic, environmental and technological trends worldwide would influence the development of the IT sector.

Engagement: Scenario planning and demand forecasting from Advisory's macro strategy team.

Result: The client integrated our study into its strategy for pursuing new growth markets.

Client team: Strategy and Business Development

Issue: What opportunities will exist for infrastructure investment at a global level in the next five years?

Engagement: Demand forecasting and scenario planning from our Advisory macro strategy team.

Result: The client updated its medium-term business development strategy.