The scenario project focused on the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic to Orkla Suomi’s operating environment. The project outcome consisted of three different scenarios for Orkla Suomi’s alternative future operating environments by 2023, plans for how to prepare for each scenario, and actions that are necessary regardless of which scenario will transpire.
Orkla Suomi wanted to understand what changes the coronavirus pandemic would cause in the company’s external operating environment: which elements of the operating environment will revert to the pre-pandemic normal and what will become the “new normal”? With the coronavirus pandemic causing new types of discontinuities in the market, along with rapid changes in consumer behaviour, the aim was to find answers to the following questions: “How can Orkla Suomi take advantage of the change? How well does the current strategy work in the new operating environment?”
The scenario planning approach was chosen because scenarios are an excellent tool for understanding future changes in the operating environment. Rather than addressing future uncertainty as a problem, scenario work helps decisionmakers deal with the uncertain operating environment and the changes in consumer behaviour as an integral part of strategy work, opening up new opportunities.
What was done?
The project consisted of project team meetings and workshops. Data collection was carried out through an efficient scenario survey and expert interviews. In the first phase, the most important uncertainties and critical questions were identified in Orkla Suomi’s operating environment. Critical questions were used to focus on phenomena that should be better understood. The scenarios sought to answer these questions from different perspectives.
In the next phase, a futures table was formed by defining alternative developments until 2023 for selected key uncertainties. With the help of Capful’s proprietary Scenario BuilderTM software, a number of logical but different scenarios were identified. Three scenarios were described in more detail, quantified and visualised. Each scenario also narrated the life and choices of an average consumer.
What was achieved?
Scenario work facilitated a systematic, yet creative process to find answers to Orkla Suomi’s key strategic questions. Scenarios were utilised to identify new business opportunities and strategic options as well as to test Orkla’s current strategy. The project also defined how Orkla Suomi should prepare for each scenario, described the necessary actions, and created a framework and tool for monitoring the operating environment in the future.
The output of the project also created value added for Orkla Suomi’s customers. Scenarios provide a platform for a deeper dialogue with various stakeholders. The scenario work encouraged a broader and thought-provoking discussion, renewed the strategic vision of key personnel, and enabled a constructive response to the uncertainties and disruptions created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The scenario project provided additional assurance that our strategy would work as we tested our business model and strategy in these different scenario worlds. It created an opportunity to be optimistic about the difficult situation of spring 2020. The different views coming from outside Orkla Suomi challenged us in an effective manner. The scenarios that we have developed in cooperation with Capful are also a good tool for monitoring how the world is changing.”
–Pasi Flinkman, CEO, Orkla Suomi