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Hopes not fears, facts and not fiction: the power of scenario modelling

September 17, 2020

Can I be the only one who is feeling rather fearful in the current world and UK situation? Change theory would suggest that in an organisation real change happens when there is a ‘burning platform’, and a level of fear, of the unknown, present, or future.

Currently, there seems to be no shortage of ‘burning platforms’. With government support packages for employers, employees and businesses coming to an end shortly, employers are announcing redundancies across most sectors to deal with a reduction in profits this year. Birmingham has now joined the list, along with cities like Aberdeen, Leicester and Greater Manchester subjected to renewed lockdown status, with all the impact that has for the local and UK economy. The new safe travel corridors to Spain and other destinations for holidays are now being shut again, seemingly as quickly as they opened. Life just feels a little riskier, and uncertain, the fear of ‘what will fall apart’ next, increases.

Bizarrely, a quote from Marylin Monroe came into my head yesterday, “Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.” This is of course the essence of hope in adversity. Similarly, stakeholders in organisations do often need some help with hope to combat ‘the fear’ or the ‘burning platform’ they face.

EventMAP has been supporting organisations over the last few months with our scenario modelling capability. Taking the available facts, and the best data to hand to plan, and to reduce the fear of making decisions driven by the current circumstances. We develop options for the potential decisions and commitments that could be made by stakeholders to support ‘what if’ type conversations, and de-risk the unknown, to support ‘better things to fall together’. It’s not easy for senior management teams to make decisions when everything seems to be so fluid and unknown.

Take one of our clients, because of increased numbers of trainee intake for a specialist role in the organisation, and as a result of structural changes, they were faced with an expectation to qualify 10% higher numbers of trainees through their training program per year over the next five years. Then they were required to keep them ‘qualified’ with yearly refresher training. All of this whilst awaiting newly built facilities. At the same time, they wanted the assurance from estate planners and architects that the size of the new facility was of the right proportions and correct configuration, given expected demand, and in order to ensure that costs were constrained.

EventMAP took data for the courses, the current trainee pass rates on each element of every course. This included the annual refresher training numbers, and the instructor numbers needed to establish the current and future estate capacity. In addition, there was a need to add current costs (even down to the reams of paper used for certificates). This was used to provide the cost model which changed dependent on the scenarios being explored for the training courses themselves. Needless to say, it was a lot of data to be held and modelled, But this allowed the provision of scenarios at a higher level, enabling useful and informative discussions around questions such as ‘what if we did this?”

EventMAP has used this approach to verify architect’s plans, based on the courses, students, and instructors in a wide selection of sectors of industry. Indeed, it has helped stop the development of new infrastructure where it can be proven that the current arrangement with better timetabling, or room use, can address an increase in demand.

Our objective is always to inform stakeholders’ choices, based on data and modelling. This reduces the fear of both change, and the prevailing challenges, in the current market conditions. In short, to enable managers to make plans with hopes not fears, and facts not fiction. Or as a wise man (Nelson Mandela) once said: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

If you need some help to guide your management teams in their decision making, perhaps we could help with our scenario modelling approach? Please feel free to give us a call for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, and your stakeholders, with scenario modelling.

Peter Jones


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