Scenario thinking in uncertain times

Arjen SchutteMoments of truth, Moments of truthLeave a Comment


The impact of the corona virus on companies is enormous, but also very diverse. Where one sees acute cash problems, the other (still) hardly has a problem. It is good that the government is on top of this and has launched a comprehensive package of support measures to deal with cash problems and to quickly reduce operating costs. But in these extreme times you also have to make strategic choices yourself that determine the future of your company.

The danger is that all the attention of the entrepreneur is now focused on the concerns of today and tomorrow. Very understandable and necessary, especially for companies where it is a question of survival. Yet it is also important to look further into the future, no matter how uncertain that future is! To think about times when the crisis is over, or a second wave of problems is hitting us. Otherwise you could make the wrong descisions for your company.

In an (extremely) uncertain future, thinking in scenarios is an interesting option. It forces you to think in a structured way about various possible future circumstances that your company may encounter. Choose the two most impactful environmental factors for your company (critical uncertainties). For example, how long the corona crisis will last or what the further development of the oil price will be.

You then determine the two extreme, but conceivable, values ​​for both critical uncertainties. This creates a matrix with four scenarios; imaginable views on the future. You will then continue to think and color each of these scenarios. What does the world look like in that scenario, what opportunities are there and which threats arise? Think through the scenario by yourselve, brainstorm with each other and write your story.

Now you have a good handle to think further about your strategy for the coming period. You may feel the intense short-term pressure and acute distress. But you can now also take into account in your decisions what the imaginable images are about the future. You can respond to opportunities that arise in multiple scenarios. Or avoid threats that occur in multiple scenarios.

We are happy to help you with your scenario planning for free during this period of crisis, by means of a videocall! Please contact Michel Stuijt ( or Arjen Schutte (

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