Scenarios: Identifing future market potentials

Added value & time horizon

Added value: Future dialogue serves as orientation knowledge and decision basis as well as for strategy development

Time horizon: medium to long term

Future Dialogue

With the help of scenarios you lead a structured dialogue about the future. They make a temporal “leap forward” into several different future designs. From there, you will consider how the respective future design will influence your industry, its products and divisions. Scenarios thus serve the strategic future exploration and the derivation of strategic options for action. Therefor following aspects are worked out for each future draft:

  • Identification of the needs of a future world
  • Uncover future success potentials: which products, services, customers and stakeholders are important?
  • Identification of future inter-company value chains
  • Awareness of the exit from certain business areas
  • Derivation of success potentials
  • Review of robustness, your own future strategy
  • Expansion of one’s own horizon through a structured dialogue on the future

From future dialogue to concrete measures

If one has analyzed the effects on the company and its divisions for each future draft, then one can compare the respective results: If the same or similar recommendations for action, future markets, products and services are found in all or at least two future drafts, then these should be examined in more detail because they can be considered “robust”.

In addition, the action options developed provide orientation knowledge. If the market environment changes faster than expected in the future, this development will find itself in one of the future scenarios and one has first clues as to which challenges the company will encounter. For example, in a scenario process for an energy supplier, the issue of nuclear phase-out and its consequences was discussed even before the reactor accident in Fukushima, and the relevant energy provider already had corresponding options for action in the drawer when the German government announced its nuclear phase-out.

Structured future design

Robust scenarios are determined on the basis of several so-called influencing factors. These are initially formulated value-free. In all scenarios / future designs, the same influencing factors are used. But they each have different characteristics. In the scenarios of the project “Molecular Sorting – Scenarios for the World of Tomorrow”, which dealt with the recycling of material flows, there was an influencing factor “values ​​in politics and society”. For this three forms were formulated:

  • Assumption A: High consciousness in politics and society, which, however, does not follow concrete action
  • Assumption B: Sustainability is more important than profit and there are behavioral changes
  • Assumption C: Cost pressure is crucial, there is no sustainability awareness

With the help of a consistency matrix, the characteristics of the influencing factors are identified which are consistent with each other and therefore not in contradiction. The sum of all consistent values ​​results in a consistent scenario / future design.

Below you can see a sample from the project “Molecular Sorting – Scenarios for the World of Tomorrow”. The consistent characteristics of the influencing factors are linked in color and together form the scenarios green, yellow and red. Detailed information and scenario creation can be found here.

consistency matrix
Consistency Matrix Molecular Sorting. Source: Fraunhofer. Projektmanagement: Ralph Seitz