KEMBA 2005

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Welcome to the KEMBA 2005 page dedicated to our class on strategic ICT and e-Business. The class is divided into blocks which are listed below.

Block 1 Introduction to Scenario Thinking

In this block the course participants are introduced to the historical background and theory of scenario thinking.  Different scenario methodologies are introduced.  A practical strategic dilemma (from a participant’s organisation) is chosen to form the focus of the group scenario process. An example scenario process is described.

Session 1: Scenario Thinking (22 May)

  • Introduction
  • Strategies for Dealing with Complexity
  • Scenario Thinking:
  • A creative process
    • A multidisciplinary process
    • An exploratory process
    • A process with results
    • An ongoing process
  • Determining Driving Forces
  • Scenario thinking in practice


  • Defining the Focal Issue (in class)
  • Add scenario definition and team members to KEMBA 2005 Scenario Page
  • Add research questions to group page
  • Answer research questions
  • Finding Driving Forces (each student to find 2 driving forces, add that to the section, and bring a printed version to the class)

Required Reading

  • Wack, Pierre. Scenarios: Uncharted Waters Ahead HBR 1985
  • Wack, Pierre. Scenarios: Shooting the Rapids HBR 1985
  • de Geus, Arie. Planning as Learning HBR 1988
  • Erasmus, Daniel. A Common Language for Strategy FT Mastering IT 1999

Background Reading

Block 2 Introduction to Systems Thinking

Systemic thinking, developed to explain ecosystems in 1950s, is an essential part of the scenario thinkers knapsack. This block introduces systems thinking, the underlying concepts of business simulation and the practice of creating systems models of the scenario space.  Several stories are used to demonstrate the awareness of systems thinking and how they can be used in the construction of scenarios.  The policy failure of Ronald Reagan’s “War on Drugs” during the 1980s is modelled using systems thinking.  During the workshop session the participants will develop systems models for their scenario focal issue.

Session 2: Systems Thinking (Content- 28 May)

  • Introduction to business simulation
  • Introduction systems thinking
  • Causal modelling of complex situations
  • Systems case:
    • Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs
    • Traffic in Mexico City

Session 3: Systems Practice (Workshop- 28 May)

  • Systems and Assumptions
  • Building systemic diagrams of the scenario space (focal issue) based on the driving forces


  • Finish the systems diagram and add final diagram to the group web site

Block 3 The new electronic context

This block explores how the Internet is changing and looks ahead at networks in the next 5 years.

Session 4: The second wave of the Internet (29 May)

There is a second wave emerging of Internet business driven by broadband, bottom up web technologies, desktop video, 3G telephony and visualisation.

Block 4 Final scenarios and tie in to organizational strategy

This block explores the tie from scenarios to strategy.  Scenarios are a communication processes and work within an organisation the scenario stories must capture the imagination of the people in the organisation.  This block develops the scenarios from systems diagrams to stories, exploring what narrative structures and modes of representation work and fail. The different modes of developing strategy from scenarios and their successes and failures are critically evaluated.

Session 5: From Scenarios to Strategy: (4 June)

Case Investing in 3G Vodafone Future of M-Commerce Scenarios
During 1999/2000 at the crest of the dotcom wave UMTS licences were sold in Europe to potential Third Generation mobile telephone operators. The DTN developed scenarios for Vodafone looking 5 years into the future of mobile commerce. The case of these practical scenarios are explored to develop forward looking ICT strategy. These scenarios are now made public to be discussed and are informed by:

  • a multi-client set developed in 2002 Mobile Internet Scenarios in 2007, and
  • A Telenor sponsored 1st glance scenarios developed in 2004 looking at the future of 3rd generation telephony

Theory: Lessons to Develop and ICT strategy from Scenarios

  • Scenarios to strategy
  • Scenario and strategy mapping the organisational context
  • Scenario Process Comparisons
  • Real options theory and the scenario approach
  • Learning from Scenarios

Session 6: Presentation (4 June)

Presenting each groups final scenarios. Each group presents their scenarios to the rest of the group for feedback and learning.

  • 20 minutes each, with 10 min questions
  • Invited people from the respective organisations to respond to the scenarios

Course Assessment

The students are expected to in a group develop a scenario set at the end of the course. This scenario set will address a practical strategic dilemma and use the theoretical material discussed during the course. In addition individuals are expected to submit individual assignments. A detailed outline of the deliverables will be discussed on the first day of class.

Grading the course is based on 3 components:

  1. Groupwork (final scenarios) 50%
  2. Individual Assignment (object from the future, driving forces) & Exam 50%