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80/20 Scenario Mapping

A short self-guided scenario analysis for CEOs.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

I hope that you and your loved ones are well and you are able to navigate this uncertainty with kindness for yourself and that the illusionary, perfect, all-knowing CEO isn’t commenting in your ear all day…

I’ve been following a number of futurists and foresight commentators with interest and even amongst these experts, there is still little consensus in how the current crisis will play out. The only real commonality is the fact that COVID-19 is NOT a ‘black swan’ event. *

Many are turning to scenario analysis as the most relevant tool to use at this time.

This approach can be long and complex, but I have seen that many charity CEOs could benefit from carrying out a simple ‘80/20’ scenario mapping to help open up their thinking around the projects they could create and the risks and issues they may need to mitigate.

Drawing on a futurist’s input, I have designed a short ‘self-guided scenario analysis’ which went down very well with the CEOs in my mastermind group; I share it here as it may be of interest to you. 

This exercise should take one hour; leave two and double the allocated timings if you want to gain greater value.

Requirements: quiet space, pen, paper, computer / device & WiFi to watch a short video, an 80/20 non-perfectionist mindset!

15 minutes - visualize and describe the ‘ideal’ future scenario for your organisation, team and for you as a leader, 12 months from now. Make it ‘unrealistically optimistic’!

15 minutes - turn this vison your ideal (but imperfectly worded) objectives for 12 months from now. Acknowledge that this may be unrealistic, but it is possible…

15 minutes - review this video: You should be aware that this is a bit of a depressing watch, but I think it's important to do once and then move on …it's well-structured for our purposes.

As you watch the video please think about your community / beneficiaries and note down what the impact will be for them of the changes he discusses in the four scenarios (I know, ouch.) Make sure that you do spend some time on the most optimistic system change scenario as well as the more pessimistic ones in the last section; he moves through that very quickly.

15 minutes - review your video notes and the objectives from point 2. Take two pages ; at the top of one write ‘create’ and on the other page write ‘mitigate’ and start to brainstorm (don’t self-censor) all of the ideas that occur to you as opportunities for project activities (under create) and actions for risk control (under mitigate.) With more time you may also consider doing this separately for each scenario.

Consider outlining your methodology and reviewing your initial findings with your team / Board as a steppingstone to your next 6-12 month planning.

I hope that you find this helpful. Drop me a line if you’d like to book a complimentary call to discuss the next steps, these will be different for each organisation: or the button below

Stay well,


*a black swan event is defined as being unpredictable, a total surprise; the emergence of another coronavirus was predicted by many working in the emerging infectious diseases field

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