Scenario Planning goes far beyond ordinary strategic planning

What are your options?

Now, more than ever, Scenario Planning is key to business survival.

While not a crystal ball exercise, the process of identifying various Scenarios helps industry leaders really focus their thinking. It helps you identify a range of possible and specific maneuvers for each Scenario. And it helps build an arsenal of strategic options.

VCI has a virtual Scenario Planning process for leadership teams who want to add more dimension to their strategic initiatives.

Let’s discuss how Scenario Planning can benefit your company, far beyond ordinary methods of strategic planning…

In the meantime, here’s a look at examples of really robust Scenarios.

Examples of Scenario Sets Under COVID-19

With the emergence and progression of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our current generation of business leaders are faced with the unchartered territory of leading amidst a comprehensive and extended global crisis.

This virtual Scenario Planning Workshop series will help your leadership team navigate the high level of uncertainty surrounding decision making. Your team will expand their ability to:

  • Create a complete set of future Scenarios specific to your company
  • Identify and understand the economic impact of your Scenarios in terms of 0.5-year, 1.5-year, 2-year, and 3-year impact
  • Write a Playbook with specific actions as an arsenal for “What’s Next…?”

To illustrate the art and science of creating Scenarios, we’ve developed three sets of Scenarios that describe the phases of the pandemic and the evolution of potential effects. To add dimension and interpretation, we’ve given titles and descriptions based on iconic characters and storylines.

Spaghetti Western Scenarios

Superhero Scenarios

Star Wars Scenarios

Images: United Artists

Images: Marvel, Dark Horse Entertainment, Warner Bros.

Images: Fox, Disney

Initial Outbreak Scenarios


Peak Cycle Scenarios


Virus Declining Scenarios


Conversations surrounding the scale and scope of this novel pandemic have settled on projected rates of infection and the ability of healthcare infrastructures to cope with potentially surging demand. The “Initial Outbreak Scenarios” show how things may actually play out.

As our focus shifts to the lockdown periods in each jurisdiction and the perceived positive or negative government support. These “Peak Cycle Scenarios” account for the variation in length of lockdown and level of adequacy in government support roll-out.

Moving further forward, as the pandemic begins to decline, our discourse is a deep dive into community behavioral responses and the readiness of industries to rebuild. Unknown answers around return to work, civil unrest, and supply chain adaptations are explored in “Virus Declining Scenarios.”

Spaghetti Western Scenarios

x axis = healthcare infrastructure

y axis = rate of infection

For a Few Dollars More – A situation where there is relatively light infection rates in a robust healthcare system. “There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand.”

The Good – Clint Eastwood’s character “Blondie” as symbolic of a jurisdiction experiencing severe infection rates, but also with a robust healthcare system. “We maintain the capability to manage the well-being of people.”

The Bad – Lee Van Cleef’s character “Angel Eyes” as symbolic of a jurisdiction experiencing low rates of infection in a failing healthcare infrastructure. “Violence and repression have been the hallmark of politics in many developing countries as COVID-19 unfolds.”

The Ugly – Eli Wallach’s character “Tuco” aka “The Rat” as symbolic of severe infection rates in a weak healthcare system. “We can’t do anything for the infected, they must stay home.”

Images: United Artists

Superhero Scenarios

x axis = level of government support

y axis = length of lockdown period

Captain America – Lockdown period is less than 10 weeks with ample government support. “Captain America was able to transcend his circumstances, something that we all hope and aspire to do.”

Deadpool – Lockdown period exceeds 10 weeks and there is sufficient government support. But the support fails the low income and poor population. “Deadpool is known for throwing caution to the wind and putting himself in dangerous situations without a complete plan.”

Hellboy – Lockdown period exceeds 10 weeks with insufficient government support. “Hellboy is short-tempered and his weapons tend to malfunction as he aims to defy his own destiny.”

Batman – Lockdown period is less than 10 weeks with insufficient government support. The result is no significant impact. “Batman does not look for love and admiration. Instead, he claims that by not being a hero, he can be something more.”

Images: Marvel, Dark Horse Entertainment, Warner Bros.

Star Wars Scenarios

x axis = population behavior

y axis = industry readiness


A New Hope – A new world emerges with a prepared and resilient industry. The workforce eagerly returns with enhanced digital skills and an attitude toward greater innovation. “Our new way of doing business has a profoundly positive effect on the environment.”

Attack of the Clones – Industries are unable to overcome the population’s newfound fear of close proximity and distrust of in-person gatherings in both the workforce and consumers. High touch industries suffer profoundly as digital platforms penetrate all sectors. “We only do stay-cations now.”

The Last Jedi – Our population demands a return to yesterday and industries prove to be quite resilient. The workforce is nostalgic about the way we do work and champions leaders who uphold tradition. “We can return our old business to new profitability.”

Revenge of the Sith – Industries are unable to pivot and prolonged shut-downs embolden a desperate workforce to civil disobedience. The population clings to old-school ideologies perpetuated by political suspicion. “Save our jobs!”

Images: Fox, Disney

Writing Your Playbook

With your customized Scenarios in hand, we work with your team on a deep dive to really think through the multiple aspects of each Scenario and then design a Playbook with specific actions for each.

First we identify actions necessary under all four Scenarios.

Then, we identify actions necessary under each Scenario.

This provides clarity in terms of “What’s Next…?” for your leadership team.

Examples of writing your Playbook
Examples of writing your Playbook

VCI’s Scenario Planning Workshops will guide your leadership team to quickly pull in, categorize, and disseminate an array of information to create your own company Scenarios and related Playbook action plans.

Let’s discuss how Scenario Planning can benefit your company, far beyond ordinary methods of strategic planning…

Gideon Malherbe, Founding Partner


Virtual Consulting International


+1 914 381 0000