Dexis Consulting Group
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What resources are available on scenario planning?

This question was submitted by Susan Bornstein, Director, Technical Services & Strategic Partnerships at Land O' Lakes International Development:

A question re the great two page CLA framework summary. There’s a section on scenario planning under Learning in the program cycle. We’d be keen to better understand the points under this bucket, as well as tools/references to inform our thinking and actions. Is there anything you could share re scenario planning in this context?

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Jen Page | Dexis Consulting Group/ USAID LEARN
Jan 9, 2017
Our team is just starting to get some practice in scenario planning, with many USAID missions engaging with scenario planning as they work on their Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS).  There are a few different methodologies that one can use to explore possible futures that would not be revealed under traditional planning methods. We have been using scenario planning as a group participatory process, but it could be expert driven. 
 
Scenario planning is best used to open up thinking to a range of possibilities. It’s not about “predicting the future." It promotes creative thinking and problem-solving from a mindset that’s not so focused on data (though you can bring data in to inform the process).  Scenario planning is really about the process. The outcome is not the scenarios themselves, but how you use those potential futures to inform something larger - like a CDCS.
 
As we learn more about scenario planning we plan to share more information and resources here on Learning Lab. Meanwhile, there is a good resource on our site from Overseas Development Institute (ODI) here: https://usaidlearninglab.org/library/strategy-development-scenario-testing-and-visioning 
 
USAID's Global Development Lab team has also been focused on scenario planning. Check out this blog for more: 

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