JPDO Futures Working Group Scenario-
Based Strategies Workshop
creation date: March 2004
What you need to know about the JPDO Futures Working Group strategy workshop...
The strategy workshops are a central element of the JPDO strategy development process. You will
be part of a select group of senior U.S. government officials, industry executives, labor
representatives, and academicians with air transportation responsibilities or interests, in a three
or four day meeting to explore alternative operating environments -- or "scenarios" -- for the air
transportation setting of 2025. These scenarios have been developed by the Futures Working Group of
the JPDO, under the direction of The Futures Strategy Group LLC.
In each of the two workshops, participants will be assigned to one of five scenario groups and,
in effect, "live" only in that scenario for the better part of four days. Participants will receive
the document pertaining to their particular scenario assignment a few days prior to the actual
workshop. During that time, participants will explore life, work, business, and transportation
challenges of the future operating environment to which they are assigned. The ultimate deliverable
for each group is a set of strategies that bridge the gap between today's assets and capabilities
and tomorrow's challenges and requirements as derived from the scenario discussions. This is hard
and intense work, but we believe you will find it arguably some of the most stimulating workshop
time you will ever spend.
Toward the end of each workshop you will have a chance to hear what other groups dealing with
very different challenges (and opportunities) from your own - offer as their strategies for building
the best air transportation system of 2025. Furthermore, each strategy set will be "stress tested"
in the other groups. This will generate important insights into common strategic priorities and
approaches across scenario worlds. And it is from this discussion that the JPDO Futures Working
Group will ultimately develop its "robust" strategy set.
Scenario Planning Up-Close
Scenario Planning is a strategy development tool designed specifically for business and operating
environments marked by both rapid change and high uncertainty over future direction. Whereas
traditional planning "assumes away" this uncertainty (at great cost and risk to the practitioner),
scenario planning explicitly considers and explores alternative future business environments. The
goal of Scenario Planning is to create a "robust" set of strategies that will work across a range of
plausible future business environments. Traditional business planning, in contrast, aims for a
single set of strategies developed in response to a single "most likely" scenario. There are many
problems with this latter approach - not the least of which are the risks and opportunities missed
by not exploring a range of different notions of what the future operating environment will look
Scenario Planning imposes a unique kind of strategic rigor by flushing out uncertainties and
discontinuities that very often do not get exposed. Scenario Planning forces planners to come to
terms with the 'pull' of emerging mission requirements rather than default to a strategy determined
by current assets, capabilities, and mission definitions. Ultimately, Scenario Planning yields
insight and direction into the full range of policy, organizational, operational, technological, and
personnel decisions related to creating forward-looking strategies.
Many of the worldss leading private and government institutions -- including IBM, Pfizer,
American Airlines, the Coast Guard, and NASA itself -- have embraced scenario planning as a more
creative, rigorous and, ultimately, a more effective way to develop and execute strategy.