Beyond Forecasting_ How to Use Scenario Planning to Map the Future - ICEF Monitor - Market Intelligence for International Student Recruitment

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Más allá de los pronósticos: uso de escenarios
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  2/10/2015 Beyond forecasting: how to use scenario planning to map the future - ICEF Monitor - Market intelligence for international student recruitmenthttp://monitor.icef.com/2014/02/beyond-forecasting-how-to-use-scenario-planning-to-map-the-future/ 1/7 Home About Contact Search Beyond forecasting: how to use scenario planning to mapthe future The following is a guest post by Woody Wade from Wade & Co, a management consultancy specialising in future scenario planning.  More and more, educational institutions, associations, and student recruitment agencies areturning to a technique called scenario planning to help them visualise how their future recruitinglandscape could change over time. By using this creative yet str uctured process to envisagealternative future terrains, they can craft more flexible marketing strategies today. What is scenario planning? Planning for the future? Of course you are. We all are. But if you want a solid plan, you need tobase it on a solid vision of the future – and in a constantly changing world, how muchinformation do you have about the future that you can really count on? Probably not much.In some form or another, almost every organisation uses a process of forecasting to try toproject the way things will develop for them in the future. Basing plans on such forecasts may beacceptable if your time horizon is just a couple of years, but for an institution developing a strategy meant to assure its competitiveness five or ten years from now, forecasts andprojections may be worse than merely unreliable – they may in fact be dangerous .This is because projections paint a picture of the future as if it will be a variant of the way thingsalready are today. Take the curr ent numbers, tweak them a bit, extrapolate into the future, and  – hey presto! – you’ve created a picture of how your markets will look five or ten years from now. Or you think you have, and therein lies the problem. By forecasting some of the key variables that determine the dimensions of your internationalrecruitment landscape (variables such as current enrolment growth from your key sourcemarkets, availability of financial aid, population growth, etc.), your gaze is firmly focused on a setof essentially marginal details.Our contention, on the other hand, is that it is not so much these variables but rather bigger,broader forces and developments that are more likely to have a dramatic impact on how your world changes in the years ahead.There are all sorts of shifts in the global marketplace that could affect your institution’s or company’s future success as a recruiter of international students, such as:Economic shifts or currency exchange rate fluctuations;The arrival of new, high-visibility competitors in your market;Technological innovations (e.g., MOOCs, broadband Internet access);Political upheavals;Legislative changes (e.g., immigration rules, government spending);Shifting attitudes on the part of foreign students, their parents, or future employers (e.g.,willingness to spend on education, perceived value of education).We believe it is this latter type of change – fundamental and often unexpected – that has thepotential to turn your world upside down (for better or worse). Yet changes like these are notbased on mere extrapolations from the present, so they are rarely, if ever, captured in even themost detailed forecasts. FollowSubscribe Stay up to date on the latest news and marketintelligence! Join our 36,000+ subscribersand sign up now to receive free alerts. Get updates @ICEFmonitor 20 Feb 2014  25 Like Tweet  42  11Share 2  37 Strategy Marketing Research Categories Regions  2/10/2015 Beyond forecasting: how to use scenario planning to map the future - ICEF Monitor - Market intelligence for international student r ecruitmenthttp://monitor.icef.com/2014/02/beyond-forecasting-how-to-use-scenario-planning-to-map-the-future/ 2/7 This is where scenario planning comes into play. By imagining how those uncertainties couldplay out, you can generate the outlines of a range of different future scenarios – alternativeways your recruitment environment could realistically develop.Sadly, even though its logic helps you visualise how different futures could unfold, scenarioplanning can’t tell you what will actually happen. But it is not intended to be a tool for  predicting  the future, but rather for exploring   it. Using scenario planning techniques, you generate plausibleand eye-opening ideas about what could   happen in your market environment.With these insights, you will then be able to recognise that each potential future landscape isassociated with certain opportunities and threats. This in turn allows you to ask critical questionsabout your readiness to compete:What issues would you have to address in each scenario if you want your recruitmentefforts to be successful?What capabilities would your institution or agency need to master in order to thrive in eachscenario? Are there specific strengths you would need to beef up, or weaknesses youwould need to overcome?What policies – financial aid, marketing, student services, human resources – would serveyour institution/agency best in each scenario? How much would they cost to implement?Where should you put your priorities?Thinking about the future in terms of alternative landscapes means you can make more flexible,more thoughtful, and better strategic decisions today. Instead of putting all your eggs in onebasket, you can develop a more nuanced approach to your recruiting strategy, and better anticipate how the lay of the land could change. Scenarios for Asian student recruitment  At the 2013 EAIE Conference in Istanbul, we ran a mini-workshop aimed at generating four plausible future scenarios for Asian student recruitment.Normally the structured approach we use to define future scenarios follows a process that takesa day or so to delve into, but in the short time we had available, we focused the discussion on just three key steps. Step one First, we elicited from the group a number of so-called “driving forces” – trends or developmentsthat could have an impact, directly or indirectly, large or small, on how recruiting Asian studentscould pan out in the future. These factors could include almost anything, but scenario plannersoften use a shorthand called “PEST” to focus the list of influential trends on these four categories:Political;Economic;Societal;Technological.In the workshop, the list of PEST factors we came up with included such potential forces aschanges in immigration rules (Political), currency imbalances (Economic), the role of religion(Societal) and the quality of simultaneous translation delivered online (Technological), amongseveral others in each category. Altogether, the group listed 21 different potential drivers of change; not bad for just a fewminutes’ work (although when you have more time, workshops can sometimes come up with150 or more driving forces, ranging from the trivial to the seismic). Step two The second step was to filter this list of driving forces down from over 20 to only two – the most“critical uncertainties” of them all.This is necessary for two reasons: you just can’t work with 21 variables (let alone 150); you’d beparalysed. And, by identifying the two forces that could each have the greatest potential impacton the future, while at the same time being the most uncertain to know in advance how they willunfold, you define the parameters of four different scenarios that realistically have the potentialto emerge – and make a big difference if they do. Popular  RecentDriving international #student recruitment resultswith a new marketing approach: #growthhackinghttp://t.co/hVRlP4plIF #marketingtechniques - 2 hours agoWho's attending #NACAC15 in San Diego? Weare at Booth #1105. Come say hello and learnhow we can help boost your #intlstudentenrollments - 3 hours agoUS federal court to curtail current work rights for US #STEM graduates; DHS has until Feb 2016to introduce new rules http://t.co/gDm0c5KATH -4 hours agoFrom the field: Agent perspectives on thechanging #Ukrainian markethttp://t.co/Yx1tfuRYXk #internationaleducation#студенти #education - 5 hours ago Survey explores the ways in which #studentsbenefited from completing a #MOOC  Featured Posts Building a winning brand through customer experience designChallenges in Vietnamese higher educationcontributing to demand for study abroadFour trends that are shaping the future of globaltudent mobilityIndian engineering graduates held back by limitedEnglishThe Brazilian market for English language learningChinese economy shifting but demand for studyabroad expected to remain strongustralian education exports reach AUS$18 billionin 2014/15New surve findin s on di ital channels for colle e ICEF Videos From the field: The internationalstudent market in Azerbaijan  2/10/2015 Beyond forecasting: how to use scenario planning to map the future - ICEF Monitor - Market intelligence for international student recruitmenthttp://monitor.icef.com/2014/02/beyond-forecasting-how-to-use-scenario-planning-to-map-the-future/ 3/7 Looking ten years ahead, the two factors that our group decided were the most criticaluncertainties were:Would the key Asian source markets be politically stable?Would MOOCs be effective competitors to traditional education? Step three The third step was to combine these two critical uncertainties into a matrix, like this:The resulting quadrants of this matrix each represent a different, but still possible, future“landscape” in which an educational institution or international student recruitment agencyinterested in recruiting Asian students may find itself operating in ten years’ time.What would be the special characteristics of each of these landscapes, from a recruiting point of view? What unique challenges and opportunities would each one present to a marketing team?Here is a taste of the ideas that workshop participants came up with (greatly simplified!): Scenario 1:  Faced with declining interest on the part of Asian students to leave their homecountry to study abroad, schools should jump on the MOOC bandwagon and be preparedto shift their marketing energies to other areas of the world. Scenario 2:  Asian students show an increasing interest to leave home, but the competitivethreat of MOOCs has to be overcome. So marketing should emphasise personal mentoringand networking benefits. Scenario 3:  Given our assumptions with respect to political instability (as shown in thegraphic above), demand is high and MOOCs are weak. Scenario 4:  With a decade of Asian stability, and MOOCs having stalled, excellent Asianschools may have established themselves, and intra-Asian competition would be a factor tobe reckoned with. What to do if you’re a European or American institution? Emphasise thevalue of the things these Asian schools won’t have built up yet, such as alumni networks or  job placement assistance.The slide deck below offers additional details on various assumptions and scenarios based ondifferent types of schools. ICEF Monitor Intervie... Go to the accompanying article  2/10/2015 Beyond forecasting: how to use scenario planning to map the future - ICEF Monitor - Market intelligence for international student recruitmenthttp://monitor.icef.com/2014/02/beyond-forecasting-how-to-use-scenario-planning-to-map-the-future/ 4/7  1 of 7 The student recruitment landscape in Asia in 2023 from ICEF Monitor. Taking it home This example was designed so that the workshop participants could return home and go throughthis exercise looking at issues that are highly specific to their individual school or recruitingagency, and assess their possible strategic response to each scenario based on their actualstrengths and weaknesses, their academic offerings (or those of their partners), and their degree of adaptability to change. A December 2013 scenario planning exercise undertaken by English Australia provides another interesting example. In the Australian example, the two dimensions they explored were“alignment” and “competitiveness.”Within this process, alignment can be understood to encompass such factors as:the extent of unification across sector;the degree to which Australia harnesses its capabilities as a nation;the capacity of the English language training sector to speak with a unified voice;how effective the industry is in articulating its brand and identity.Competitiveness, meanwhile, refers to such factors as the sustainability of the ELICOS businessmodel, the regulatory environments, the prevalence of price competition, the relative cost of living in Australia, general economic conditions, and the competitive context for Australianproviders.The following four scenarios were established when these two key forces were mapped againsteach other:
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