Scenario Planning is Just a Tools
In 2002 Sofian Effendi Rector of UGM University writes about State University challenge due to globalization. The tone in the writing is ‘not confidence/afraid’ (I dont know better wording). Due to the very change of University business model from state support to autonomy model (BHMN similar with SOE). The challenge that Sofian Effendi face is real, Tuition Fee is increase almost 300% in one year (from 500,000 IDR to 1,500,000 per term), even greater almost 600% compare with last three year fee. Even more, Sofian quotes Alvin Toffler (widely quoted at that time), AFTA (Asean Free Trade Area) and of course globalization as the background of his writing. In the next year UGM open its Diploma Program (D3), S1 Extention Program and Special Recruitment Student with a bigger admission fee.
In 10-15 years later, most of the prediction in the past is incorrect. UGM then close its S1 extention program, close its D3 program (well decided to centralize the program, a consolidation after D3 is given to each faculty, now D3 is a vocational program under University) and even the intake for new student in UGM rise. Well, even no one can predict that in just that short period, Indonesia has a president graduated from Forestry UGM. In short, UGM getting bigger and stronger, contrary with what prediction made in the past, contrary what even a 1998 student that thought that UGM lose its education quality.
What UGM rector writes in the past is just illustration that a no one can predict the future. In 2002 Ebizzasia along with WartaEkonomi (2002s version) are two prominent magazine that promote the electronic business wave. Its a common in the past, to go to some office lobby and found this magazine put in the table. My campuss at that time also has Infokomputer and Infolinux which more technical magazine. I still can remember the change of the format of Infokomputer magazine from hardware magazine to e-business magazine. Again, with the same illustration of what happen in UGM, if we reading back the article of prediction in 2006 and the business challenge in 2006. In short its happened in all aspect of our life, from politics such as privatization, regional autonomy to globalization, no one can predict the future, not even a single one.
If we can’t predict the future, what we should think now?
I used and still thinking with the future used as baseline. For example, I works in the office, in expectation to be a manager in five years. I run, in expectation I can reach 1000 km distance in one year. I save money, in expectation to buy a car or a house in the one or two years. I eat healthy food in expectation to live longer. Even, sometimes our expectation with the future is biased, over confident and totally wrong. Well, it is a curse, knowing based on illustration above, a medium term (10-15 years) prediction on institutional basis is totally wrong. So, what is the argument that saying I, a human, can predict their own health, romance (jodoh for single), welfare (profit). What is the correlation of proverb “Rajin pangkal Pandai, Hemat pangkal Kaya” (The more diligence the smarter, the more you save the richer you are) which all is an expectation on the future.
Well, In my argument, refer to Shell Scenario Planning, stated that “few if any significant long term business advantages accrued to Shell from the use of scenario methodology” or statement “But Shell-style scenario planning has never really been about predicting the future. Its value lies in how scenarios are embedded in”. It also happen the same way with Bandung Scenario that stated “bukanlah prediksi tentang apa yang akan atau seharusnya terjadi, melainkan lebih kepada apa yang mungkin terjadi pada 2030” (Which mean that we need to prepare for every scenario).
Short (<5 years), Medium (10-15 years) and Long Term (20-30 years)
Schoemaker (1995) writes in MITSloan Review on Scenario Thinking, but story about scenario planning is can be seen in many perspective and literature review, from KPMG to AT Kearney. At the end scenario planning as it written in Futures Journal (IF 0.7) is complicated area, even selecting a simple scenario in one field e.g energy or business is very challenging.