Diverse Teams by Futurist Barbara (2023)

Diversity Driven: The Team Formula for Winning Scenario Planning

checklist diversity scenario planning Mar 21, 2023

Cognitive diversity is a key ingredient for successful scenario planning. It ensures that a wide range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences are considered.

Below is a checklist and verification questions to help you gauge the cognitive diversity of your scenario planning team.


1. Expertise Diversity (Deep Views)

Does your team include people with a wide range of skills and expertise?

  • Do you have subject matter experts from different areas of your organization? (For example, product-market specialists).
  • Do you have team members who understand the broader industry trends and market dynamics (industry experts)?
  • Have you included individuals with a super track record in managing the scenario planning process (task experts)?


2. Functional Diversity (Complex Views)

Does your team reflect different functions within your organization?

  • Have you included representatives from different departments (e.g., operations, marketing, finance, HR, IT)?
  • Have you considered inviting members from different levels of the organization, not just senior management?


3. Experiential Diversity (Broad Views)

Does your team include people with diverse backgrounds and experiences?

  • Have you included team members with a track record in other industries or markets than yours?
  • Does your team include individuals who have faced different kinds of professional challenges? (People that were involved in managing organizational shocks and transformations).
  • Are there team members who have worked in different roles or functions for a prolonged period? (Like Sales and HR or in a specialist and managerial role).


4. Cultural and Demographic Diversity (Heterogeneous Views)

Does your team include people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, and nationalities?

  • Does your team composition reflect the demographic diversity of your employees, customers, or communities you serve?
  • Have you considered including individuals from different geographic locations, especially if your company operates in multiple regions?


5. Perspective Diversity (Challenging Views)

Does your team include people with different ways of thinking and problem-solving?

  • Have you included both detail-oriented and big-picture thinkers?
  • Does your team include people who are risk-averse and those who are comfortable taking risks?
  • Are there individuals who are comfortable challenging the status quo and bringing fresh perspectives?


6. Stakeholder Diversity (Power Views)

Does your team include representatives of different stakeholder groups?

  • Have you considered including customers, partners, or suppliers in the scenario planning process?
  •  If applicable, have you considered external stakeholders' perspectives, such as regulators, local communities, or industry bodies?


7. Analytical Diversity (Computational Views)

Does your team include data crunchers?

  • Have you considered adding A.I. powered insights?
  • Are data scientists represented in the team?


Remember, the goal of diversity in scenario planning is to challenge assumptions, spark creative ideas, and ensure that a wide range of possibilities are considered.

It's not about ticking boxes but creating a richer, more robust understanding of the future.

You need two ingredients to develop competent future scenarios.

  1. One is team diversity (check)
  2. The other is providing a safe space so that participants
    • feel free to bring their unique views to the table
    • participate happily in deconstructing their views in assumptions about cause-effect relationships 
    • creatively reconstruct shared visions of possible futures


Want evidence?

Check this paper:

Franco, L., Meadows, M., Armstrong, S. (2013). Exploring Individual Differences In Scenario Planning Workshops: a Cognitive Style Framework. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 4(80), 723-734. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2012.02.008

Or my dissertation:

van Veen, B.L., 2020. Straws That Tell the Wind: Top-Manager Perception of Distant Signals of the Future (Doctoral dissertation, Delft University of Technology). https://doi.org/10.4233/uuid:d26842a4-8f72-44d4-8952-cd17988d18d8




P.S. Ask me if you want to know more about the safe space and how to create it. The comment section is for your feedback on team composition, so shoot me an email for the safe space questions (barbara at futuristbarbara.com). 


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