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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?

From the early days prediction, foretelling, sooth saying, clairvoyance, fortune telling ... you name it, people believed in it and put all their faith in it. We as humans have implicit faith in the gift of prediction. Across nations, cultures, religions and races we have in our myths and histories hosts of celestial, mystical and supernatural  beings; demi-gods and Arch Angels; druids, sorcerers and witch- doctors; religious elders and Prophets; The Delphic Oracle; Witches and wizards. The one thing that elevated them to esteemed positions and elitism was their power of prediction. They were looked upon with awe and reverence. People even feared their wrath and so did everything possible to keep them in good humour. 

When we meet someone for the fist time or go to a new place, the first thing we do is create our own opinions and we do this by hastily generalizing from our past experiences and we try to predict the character of the person or the nature of the place. With this close connection to prediction and trying to create impressions of the future from past experiences, we tend to treat anything that falls short of this as sub-standard.

So if scenarios cannot predict, what's the point in even thinking about it? Other forms of planning like risk management or strategic planning seem more endearing and satisfying. How can one stop oneself from crossing the boundaries and take to predicting the future? It's human nature. It's in our system. So, why scenario planning if it's not the norm? 

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