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Large Group Scenario Planning

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For More Information: Gil Steil Associates,

To enhance large group interventions involving a whole system by enabling participants to envision multiple ways the external environment may change in the future and how these environmental changes could affect the organization. 

Future plans that have been clarified by questioning participant assumptions about the future, which is frequently not an extrapolation of the past 

When to Use: 
  • To enhance strategic planning 
  • When multiple possibilities need to be considered 
  • When the imagination of the planners needs encouragement 

When Not to Use: 
When there are no critical uncertainties confronting the organization 

Number of Participants: 

Types of Participants: 
All stakeholders 

Typical Duration:
  • Plan: 2–6 weeks 
  • Invite Participants: 2–10 weeks 
  • Meeting: 2–3 days 
  • Follow-up: 6 months 

Brief Example: 
A dental school used Large Group Scenario Planning to plan for curricular change, admissions policy, and faculty development. The result was a restructured curriculum, some fresh approaches to admissions, and ideas for faculty development. 

Historical Context: 
Created in 2003 by Gil Steil and Michele Gibbons-Carr. Based on traditional scenario planning strategies of P.Schwartz, J. Ogillvy, G. Ringland, P. Schoemaker, and K. van der Heijden, and integrated into a whole system large group process.