The pandemic is still evolving; we can’t know when it will end, or what the world will look like once it’s over. But we can change how we think about the future.
How can we form strategy in the face of uncertainty? That’s the question you must ask as you prepare for the future, in the midst of a global pandemic. Writing in Harvard Business Review, J. Peter Scoblic says the answer is strategic foresight – in particular its most familiar tool: scenario planning. Strategic foresight doesn’t help us figure out what to think about the future: it helps us figure out how to think about it.
THE LIMITS OF EXPERIENCE
Economist Frank Knight argued that uncertainty is best understood in contrast with risk. In situations of risk we can calculate the probability of particular outcomes because we’ve seen many similar situations before. But in situations of uncertainty we can only guess what might happen, as we lack the experience to gauge the most likely outcome. We might not even be able to imagine the range of potential outcomes.