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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategic Processes MasterGuide
Aimed at business strategists or consultants, this book provides many deep, usable tools, and approaches assisting the development of more robust projects and organizations across a range of futures.
The well referenced attractive chapters span:
++ The context- history in Shell, and three paradigms (rationalist/ evolutionist, and processualist).
++ The...
Published on November 24, 2000 by Prof David T Wright

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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great content but writing style makes for hard reading
Frankly I'm surprised at all the glowing reports without someone mentioning that this isn't the easiest book to read. Not that the language is difficult. Rather the sentences are long and often unclear, and there are too many reference to past and future chapters.
I'd suggest reading a few paragraphs before purchasing the book. You might find that this book is not...
Published on October 16, 2002 by guyplatt


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategic Processes MasterGuide, November 24, 2000
Aimed at business strategists or consultants, this book provides many deep, usable tools, and approaches assisting the development of more robust projects and organizations across a range of futures.
The well referenced attractive chapters span:
++ The context- history in Shell, and three paradigms (rationalist/ evolutionist, and processualist).
++ The principles of scenario planning- the business idea, uncertainty, scenarios, and scenarios planning in organizations.
++ The practice of scenario planning- practitioner's art, articulating the business idea, competitive positioning, scenario development, and option planning.
++ Institutionalizing scenario planning- the management of change, planning processes, and guiding the strategic conversation.
Strengths include: the credibility and rigor of content (the author has 35 years experience in this field!); the attractive style and presentation; the sets of checklist & guidance for those embarking on scenario planning exercises; and extremely relevant tools for senior managers (and whole organizations) to avoid "analysis-paralysis" number-crunching or Las Vegas gambling on guesswork and charisma. The main weakness (to this reviewer) was a need for more case studies, and perhaps more occasional humor/lightheartedness.
Overall, a great text which goes very well with the high quality Gill Ringland's "Scenario Planning- Managing for the Future" (Wiley, 1998, ISBN 047197790X).
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great content but writing style makes for hard reading, October 16, 2002
By 
"guyplatt" (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
Frankly I'm surprised at all the glowing reports without someone mentioning that this isn't the easiest book to read. Not that the language is difficult. Rather the sentences are long and often unclear, and there are too many reference to past and future chapters.
I'd suggest reading a few paragraphs before purchasing the book. You might find that this book is not for you -- it didn't do anything for me. I gave up half way through the book, maybe there was more value in the second half.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Knowledge!, July 14, 2005
Many business books provide just enough information to whet executives' appetites for more advice accompanied by high consulting fees. Author Kees van der Heijden has written an exception. His comprehensive volume puts scenario building in historical context, explains its relationship to forecasting and tells you how to introduce scenario planning to your organization. Once you understand your corporate identity and your fundamental "Business Idea," he says, you can establish and enact informative scenarios that will prepare your company for several different versions of what lies ahead. In that way, scenario planning generates better decision making. We strongly recommend this book to top managers, strategists and planners, especially those who sense they're making decisions on the fly without having a structure for thinking deeply about future implications.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life-Time's Experience in Scenarios and Corporate Strategy, July 14, 1997
By A Customer
What makes this book such high-value reading is not just the quality of the author's argument; it is the way in which he lets us participate in his wealth of experience gained over many years of conducting practical scenario work. Readers with a
professional background in corporate strategic planning will profit from this thoughtful exposition of accrued processual knowledge. Newcomers are offered a unique opportunity to make a direct shortcut to the results of a life-time's professional learning in this highly complex field of practice. This is not to say, of course, it could replace personal experience to be made
by each individual alone; however, Kees van der Heijden offers a clearly structured guide to the Whys and Hows of organizational learning based on the scenario approach to planning. (read more about this great book at [...]
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Process to get a business to think strategic vs tactics, August 10, 1997
This book is aimed at corporate strategists, or anyone responsible for figuring out where a business needs to go, vs. what the business is doing today. You can also use these techniques for your personal life. Kees uses lots of examples to get his ideas across. I personally found the text too dry and academic, but the ideas and processes presented are excellent, and it is well worth the read. I also appreciated his comments on dealing with internal politics, which seems to be the over-arching subject in a lot of these meetings. A very good companion book would be Peter Schwartz's The Art of the Long View. Both Peter and Kees used to work together at Shell, and both books complement each other
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The richest guide to scenarios and strategy, April 2, 2000
I usually recommend Peter Schwartz's The Art of the Long View to newcomers to scenario planning, however van der Heijden's Scenarios is the definitive text for those that want more richness and detail, not only on implementing scenario planning as an ongoing practice within organisations, but also on how the use of scenarios instructs all strategic thinking. van der Heijden's concept of the Business Idea should be central to all managers' and consultants' work.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just scenarios, a book on strategic thinking & mgt, February 17, 2005
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Disclaimer: This review is one of the assignments in a graduate course on forecasting.

First, I should say that this is an amazing book, but not necessarily an easy read. However, it repays the effort needed. A previous reviewer commented on the difficulty of the writing. I find the same thing, but it can be marked down to the Dutch/German writing style, which is both compact and tends toward longish sentences. Essentially this means that some sentences have to be read twice before the idea is absorbed. Let me be clear, this activity is well worth it!

This book is more than just about scenarios, offering a convincing and comprehensive understanding of how scenarios can and should be used as a form of strategic management.

Along the way, the reader is treated to clear and helpful explanations of such things as "the business idea of an organization" (ch. 3), "articulation of the business idea" in scenarios (ch. 8), "option planning" (ch. 11), and "the management of change" (ch. 12), among others.

Overall, scenarios as practiced and understood by Van Der Heijden (who spent 35 years at Shell and 6 years as an academic before writing this book), are useful tools. They are foremost organizational tools which are best used by entire organizations, not the solitary planner at their workbench.

If you want to understand how the future can be more accurately perceived (though not predicted), and how organizational learning can actually happen, then this is a worthy addition to the library of any management strategist or student of the future.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Written in stone, not in sand, May 27, 2005
I agree with the other reviewers, it is not a business novel. Fifteen pages per hour is a good score. However it is worth every minute. I recognise the strategy meetings that indeed most often strand in tactics at the very best. The idea of the Business Idea and the huge importance Kees lays on the need for an original, differentiating business element was for me the most important lesson. I am working for a 50 year old company, active in a domain that is under severe pressure of a rapidly changing business model,

after years and years of 'innovation' around the same theme. This work was an eye opener.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book and survive!, January 21, 2002
By A Customer
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A marvelous book which could be subtitled "What to do before the market projections you are guiding your company with go plop!". Van Der Heijden has done an excellent job dissecting the approaches used to establish a deeper more robust strategy based on continuously developing (and refining) a "model" of the forces underpinning your market. Very practical, potentially pivotal, highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Practical, March 8, 2007
By 
M. Hancock (Denver Colorado USA) - See all my reviews
I have found this book a delightful and enlightening read. I've been a fan of Scenario Planning since reading Peter Swartz's "Art of the Long View." This if the first book on the subject that i've read that actually provides the level of detail i wanted to see such that i could begin to practice scenario planning and incorporate the tools and language into my work environment. Great stuff.
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Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation
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