How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions

31 Aug

Scenario planning involves planning for the future by understanding that different marketplace outcomes may occur in response to any strategy and that each possible marketplace outcome must be planned for to avoid the worst case scenario.

Here’s a simple example: Suppose that a major soda company introduces a new non-carbonated cola beverage into the marketplace. These are just a few scenarios that are possible:

  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations and do not cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues and profit rise.
  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations, but slightly cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues and profits rise slightly.
  • The sales of the new beverage meet expectations, but greatly cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues stay the same, and profits fall somewhat due to the investment in the new item.
  • The sales of the new beverage do not meet expectations and do not cannibalize the sales of other company products. Overall company revenues rise very little, and profits fall a lot due to the investment in the new item.

The premise of scenario planning is to anticipate the possibility of each of these outcomes occurring and have in place a pre-planned framework (contingency plan) to deal with each scenario.

Recently, Shardul Phadnis, Chris Caplice, and Yossi Sheffi wrote an article for the MIT Soan Management Review titled “How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions.” The authors reached three major conclusions:

  1. The use of multiple scenarios is not necessarily an antidote for overconfidence. One should not assume that simply using multiple scenarios to evaluate a long-range decision will help alleviate the negative effects of decision makers’ overconfidence in their own judgment.”
  2. Scenarios influence judgment — and their content matters. More than half the judgments in our studies changed after single-scenario evaluations. Scenario users became more favorable of investing in an element — either by increasing confidence in their original recommendation to invest, decreasing confidence in their original recommendation to not invest, or changing their recommendation to favor the investment — when they found the element useful in a scenario.”
  3. “The use of multiple scenarios can nudge executives towards more flexible strategies. Executives often choose strategies optimized for a particular environment. While such strategies may perform well in the environment envisioned at the time of their implementation, they may not be easily adaptable to new opportunities or in response to unexpected threats.  Under such circumstances, evaluating strategic decisions using multiple scenarios can help executives appreciate the importance of choosing more flexible assets or approaches — even if doing so is not the most optimal choice for present-day conditions.”

Click the image to access the article.

 

 

Ransomware: Even Worse Than the Name Implies

30 Aug

The term “ransom” has been around for hundreds of years and is best described as a way to redeem someone from captivity, bondage, detention, etc., by paying a demanded price.

Today, we have another destructive variation of the word ransom — that is “ransomware.” What is it and what can we do about it?

TechRepublic recently produced Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, written by James Sanders. This is an executive summary quoted from the guide:

  • What is it? Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.
  • Why does it matter? Because of the ease of deploying ransomware, criminal organizations are increasingly relying on such attacks to generate profits.
  • Who does this affect? While home users have traditionally been the targets, healthcare and the public sector have been targeted with increasing frequency. Enterprises are more likely to have deep pockets from which to extract a ransom.
  • When is this happening? Ransomware has been an active and ongoing threat since September 2013.
  • How do I protect myself from a ransomware attack? A variety of tools developed in collaboration with law enforcement and security firms are available to decrypt your computer.

Sanders adds: “For those who have been infected, the No More Ransom project — a collaboration between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab, and Intel Security — provides decryption tools for many widespread ransomware types.


 
Here are a couple of informative infographics by LogRhythm:



 

Global Web Users: A Work in Progress

25 Aug

Recently, the International Communication Union, a UN agency conducted research on Web usage around the globe. Click here for a PDF of the highlights of its 2016 report based on this research.

Statista has devised an interesting chart from the ICU data. [See below.] And its Felix Richter  offered these insights:

“25 years ago, August 23, 1991, a British computer scientist made the World Wide Web available to the public. Tim Berners-Lee, who was then working at CERN, could not have imagined the impact his actions would have on the world over the next two-and-a half decades. Honoring this milestone in the history of the Internet, August 23 has become known as Internaut Day.”

“However, even 25 years after what some call its inception, the World Wide Web is not nearly as universally available as its name suggests. According to the latest estimates by the International Communication Union, a UN agency specializing in information and communication technologies, only 47 in 100 world citizens use the internet these days. While Internet access in regions such as North America and Europe has become a commodity not unlike electricity and running water, people in less-developed regions often still lack access to what has arguably become the most important source of information of our times.”

 

Infographic: The Not So World Wide Web | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista.

 

How to Be More Confident and Motivated

24 Aug

Click the image below to download the FREE book Personal Confidence & Motivation from MTD Training. [Note: A simple login is required. Select working as your option.]

“Do you have the self-belief and confidence to make a difference? Do you ‘just know’ that you’ll succeed no matter what? Do you know what motivates and gets you going? And do you know how to tap into the motivations of other people? In this book, you’ll find the answers to all of these questions and much more besides! You’ll understand how to build your own confidence levels and how to generate confidence in an instant. You’ll then move onto the topic of motivation and you’ll be able to really understand this area of personal development.”

 

 

Best Free Sites to Use in Blogging

23 Aug

One of the reasons the developing a personal, company, or nonprofit blog is so popular is that (a) many sites are available to host blogs for free and (b) these sites typically offer user-friendly free templates to set up and administer the blogs.

Recently, Codeable Magazine identified and described a number of blogging sites. Here are those blogging sites, in alphabetical order:

 
Click the image to read more.


 

The Consumer’s Path to Purchase by Category

22 Aug

We know that consumers shop differently for various goods and services. But we can always learn more.

Millward Brown Digital recently produced a report entitled “Demystifying the Consumer Journey?” A free download is available with a simple login.

The chart below summarizes the average length of a shopper’s journey (in days) and  the level of involvement accompanying a purchase decision (in other words, how hard the consumer was willing to work to make a purchase decision). Millard Brown concluded that:

“The risk of making the wrong decision is a powerful thing. When a wrong decision could result in significant financial loss or impact personal safety, consumers invest more time and care in the decision-making process. As a result, the average journey length for an auto purchase, for example, is nearly 10 times longer than that of a beauty purchase.”

“A ‘marketer-centric’ approach to budget and resource allocation is often the easiest option. However, by placing the consumer at the center, marketers can tailor budget allocations to the digital touchpoints that drive real consumer action.”

 


 

Are YOU Doing Enough to Build Your Network?

9 Aug

If you are not heavily involved in professional networking, you are probably doing yourself — and your career — a disservice.

Consider these observations from Lindsay Kolowich, writing for HubSpot:

“When done right, networking is an incredibly valuable investment of every professional’s time and effort. It helps us make meaningful business connections, get feedback, and advance our careers. And best of all, it pays significant dividends over time. So why does it seem so unpleasant sometimes? It can feel fake, it’s exhausting, and frankly, standing alone in a sea of unknown faces with nametags and cheese plates can be utterly painful.”

According to Kolowich, here are common networking mistakes that people make:

  • “You’re waiting to build your network until you need it most.”
  • “You aren’t keeping up your personal brand.”
  • “You’re afraid to attend networking events by yourself.”
  • “You don’t follow up with personal messages.”
  • “You ask the same questions everyone else is asking.”
  • “You dominate networking conversations.”
  • You’re overeager.”
  • You don’t venture outside your existing network.”
  • “You don’t ask for anything, or you ask for too much.”

Click the image to read a lot more.


 

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