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Air Transportation Users Workshop

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 managers in major air transportation user organizations, for a three 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.

Participants will be assigned to one of five scenario groups and, in effect, "live" only in that scenario. 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 like.

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 world's 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.

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