ArchiveOODA OriginalOODAcast

Lance Mortlock On Scenario Planning to Drive Strategic Decisions

Lance Mortlock is a Senior EY Strategy Partner. He is author of the book Disaster Proof: Scenario Planning for Post Pandemic Future, which explores ways scenario planning can help organizations be more resilient. This is a must-read book for anyone in the Risk Management field. It provides practical advice for strategists, planners, executives and board members on how to ask better questions related to the future, uncertainty, risk and strategy.

In this OODAcast, we ask Lance for insights into what planners can learn from major global events from the last few decades and how scenario planning can help organizations prepare for the big shocks.

Scenario Planning goes beyond simple strategy development and strategic planning. Strategic plans are almost never agile enough for the real world. Scenario planning helps organizations prepare for increasing levels of global uncertainty and complexity. When done well it results in playbooks that can help speed decision-making in the moment.

Scenario Planning originated with the military and has been firmly rooted in military strategy and is continually leveraged at major military staff headquarters to map out potential futures. Students of military history may know of famous scenario planners like Herman Kahn of RAND.  Kahn had met with a forward thinking executive at Shell, Pierre Wack, who became the first business leader to adapt scenario planning commercially. Lance discusses how many corporations since then have leveraged scenario planning to anticipate futures and prepare for both increased risk and opportunities.

Lessons we learned from Lance include:

  • Expected outcomes from scenario planning
  • Repeatable methods to get the most from planning sessions
  • How Lance’s methods of scenario planning for corporations can be translated to scenario planning for individuals (which makes for some excellent career advice)
  • Potential scenarios involving the impact of Covid-19 on the global business environment
  • What could be the next big disruptive event
  • The uncertainty and complexity and potential risks and opportunities associated with Artificial Intelligence

Podcast Version:


Become A Member

OODA Loop provides actionable intelligence, analysis, and insight on global security, technology, and business issues. Our members are global leaders, technologists, and intelligence and security professionals looking to inform their decision making process to understand and navigate global risks and opportunities.

You can chose to be an OODA Loop Subscriber or an OODA Network Member. Subscribers get access to all site content, while Members get all site content plus additional Member benefits such as participation in our Monthly meetings, exclusive OODA Unlocked Discounts, discounted training and conference attendance, job opportunities, our Weekly Research Report, and other great benefits. Join Here.


Related Reading:

Explore OODA Research and Analysis

Use OODA Loop to improve your decision making in any competitive endeavor. Explore OODA Loop

Decision Intelligence

The greatest determinant of your success will be the quality of your decisions. We examine frameworks for understanding and reducing risk while enabling opportunities. Topics include Black Swans, Gray Rhinos, Foresight, Strategy, Stratigames, Business Intelligence and Intelligent Enterprises. Leadership in the modern age is also a key topic in this domain. Explore Decision Intelligence

Disruptive/Exponential Technology

We track the rapidly changing world of technology with a focus on what leaders need to know to improve decision-making. The future of tech is being created now and we provide insights that enable optimized action based on the future of tech. We provide deep insights into Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Security Technology, Space Technology. Explore Disruptive/Exponential Tech

Security and Resiliency

Security and resiliency topics include geopolitical and cyber risk, cyber conflict, cyber diplomacy, cybersecurity, nation state conflict, non-nation state conflict, global health, international crime, supply chain and terrorism. Explore Security and Resiliency


The OODA community includes a broad group of decision-makers, analysts, entrepreneurs, government leaders and tech creators. Interact with and learn from your peers via online monthly meetings, OODA Salons, the OODAcast, in-person conferences and an online forum. For the most sensitive discussions interact with executive leaders via a closed Wickr channel. The community also has access to a member only video library. Explore The OODA Community

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of OODA LLC, the technology research and advisory firm with a focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity which publishes Bob is the co-host of the popular podcast The OODAcast. Bob has been an advisor to dozens of successful high tech startups and has conducted enterprise cybersecurity assessments for businesses in multiple sectors of the economy. He was a career Naval Intelligence Officer and is the former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Find Bob on Defcon.Social