The problem with prediction
There are inherent problems that arise from using prediction as a strategy for determining how to mitigate future threats. Whilst success may be found predicting trends on a short-term basis, mid and long-term events are contingent on many interacting factors and prediction therefore becomes unreliable.
Alternative: scenario planning
Scenario planning offers an alternative solution to this issue. The usefulness of the technique is not dependent on the likelihood of the scenarios coming true, but the opportunity for security and law enforcement organisations to set flexible strategies to deal with them. It is the development of a flexible response that marks the success of this technique.
This toolkit offers a step-by-step guide to assist security and law enforcement officers in becoming familiar with scenario planning techniques.
Research indicates that multiple future scenario planning is not widely practiced in law enforcement organisations. Instead, operational and tactical planning dominates policy and management.
Those organisations that can devote resources to focusing on future trends, tend to develop strategies based on past trends.
The scenario planning approach
The scenario planning approach offers an accessible alternative to the more established prediction thinking to enhance the capacity of organisations to detect, anticipate and mitigate future security threats.
By following the steps in this toolkit officers will be able to:
- imagine a variety of possible unknown future security threat scenarios
- undertake a holistic analysis of those possible scenarios
- strategically plan for the inconceivable.
This toolkit has been designed as a practical guide for managers and officers who are otherwise unfamiliar with scenario planning techniques.
It can also be used by subject matter experts or training professionals within a workshop setting.