Scenario Gaming: How Resilient Is Your Product Strategy?
By JANA PAULECH
Strategic resilience as a topic has been cemented high on every board’s agenda thanks to the pandemic and widespread geopolitical risks (McKinsey global survey, 2021). With the rapid rise of technology, resilience is also key in the planning of technology and digital strategies by CTOs and tech leaders.
However, the topic of product strategy resilience rarely if ever surfaces when talking to product leaders about their product strategies. This is despite being one of the biggest detractors to creating big, bold, long-term product strategy.
One of the most common ailments espoused by product functions is their inability to consider the long term. Why consider that when things change so fast?
“Our market changes, our regulatory environment changes, and our business priorities change. We can’t create a long-term strategy with all this change and, if we try, we’ll just have to throw it out and start all over again.”
This thinking is symptomatic of ‘fragile’ strategy – a strategy that does not consider change in its inception, and therefore really only ever plans to change the plan.
Moving beyond ‘fragile’ strategy towards ‘resilient’ strategy means that product leaders consider change not as a possibility, but as a certainty. Change is our constant companion, and therefore must be included in our strategy along with all the other usual suspects – competitors, market, customers, business priorities, risks etc.
Scenario gaming invites strategy makers to identify and create likely scenarios.
They then ‘game’ those scenarios out to consider what could be done differently. From these insights, we create a strategy that can rapidly adapt to change.
One of the most useful techniques for developing a change-resilient product strategy is scenario gaming.
This technique invites strategy makers to identify and create likely scenarios that may eventuate, and that would have material and rapid impact on the organisation and product. They then ‘game’ those scenarios out to consider what could be done differently.
By combining the insights of many scenarios into the product strategy, we create a strategy that can rapidly adapt to change.
To find out more about scenario gaming and the Brainmates ‘Identify > Game > Adapt’ framework for scenario gaming, you can watch the video below.