Thinking in Scenarios - as a method of innovative strategic planning (Part 1)

Bernhard Richter

“It is not important to know, but to be prepared for the future” (Pericles)

It has always been important for human beings to look into the future. Especially the political elites of every historic epoch have striven to know the future, to shape their actions in order to make their empires more secure and to ensure their survival. From the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece, to Nostradamus in more recent times, up today, people have been trying to gain information concerning the future. The future, however, is a dimension we cannot fathom.

Political decision takers and planners on the politico-strategic level must have a notion of the imminent challenges and developments in order to align the security architectures and their instruments and make them sustainable.

The necessity of such long-term, sustainable alignment is especially obvious in the security-political field, as armed forces and other emergency services require relatively long planning horizons (due to the long operational life and cost of major-end-items). This, however, has always required information about the future.