Driving Force Impacts for Environmental Scanning in Strategic Planning

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    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, Ph.D., Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
    Adapted from the Field Guide to Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Facilitation.

    Driving Forces Table reprinted with permission from Neil Gustafson, Instructor, University of St. Thomas’ “Macrocontemporary Scene” course in its Executive MBA program. (This document is referenced from Scanning in Strategic Planning.)

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    During strategic planning, consider the following grid when conducting a scan of the environment that is external to the organization. The grid can be used in scenario-based, strategic planning. Scenario planning is a useful technique that often provokes planners to really be strategic in their planning.

    From the perspectives of each of the two alternative sets of assumptions (A and B) below, for your selected driving force (listed in the left-hand column), describe the conditions that you think might prevail in the U.S. regarding your organization. Select a certain number of years in the future in which to describe your scenario, e.g., 3, 5, 10, or 20 years out. Then compile an overview scenario for the future of your organization, based on scenarios A and B that result from considering each driving force.

    Various Driving Forces That Could Effect Future of Your Organization

    “A” Assumptions Best-Case

    “B” Assumptions Worst-Case

    Business (types, vitality, location, capital availability, management,
    philosophy, etc.)
    Communications and access to information
    Economic conditions (e.g., GNP, productivity, inflation, etc.)
    Education (elementary, secondary, higher, life-long, etc.)
    Employment and labor force characteristics
    Energy (e.g., availability, types, uses, costs, etc.)
    Environmental conditions (air, water, soil)
    Equal opportunities (women, minorities)
    Food (production, distribution, consumption)
    Governance (structures and operations as a government)
    Health and human services
    Housing (types, location, conditions, costs, etc.)
    International relations (economic, social, political)
    Life-style conditions
    Natural resources (minerals, fuels, foreign products, etc.)
    Politics (voting, political parties, lobbying, methods of influence,
    Population (growth or decline, composition, distribution, etc.)
    Religion and ethics
    Security (personal, property, crime, law enforcement, etc.)
    Technology (communication, medical, military, robotics, artificial intelligence)
    Transportation (auto, rail, air, etc.)

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