What is our Foresight and Scenario Service?

Organisations are grappling with complex questions in an increasingly uncertain world. Will automation drive reshoring and stunt growth in emerging markets? Will blockchain replace central banks? How severe will the US–China trade war be? Through megatrend analysis, scenario planning and quantitative scenario modelling, our Foresight and Scenario Service can help organisations to understand emerging trends, address strategic challenges, capitalise on opportunities and make better decisions.

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How can we help you?

Our Foresight and Scenario Service provides a toolkit for improving organisational strategy, managing risk, strengthening forecasting capacity and engaging stakeholders to address critical policy issues. This toolkit will enable you to:

1. Identify how emerging macroeconomic, geopolitical and societal trends will affect your business through horizon scanning.
2. Future-proof your strategy and risk management processes through scenario planning.
3. Measure the impact of external shocks on your business through economic modelling.
4. Engage diverse business and policy stakeholders through scenario-based thought leadership programmes that leverage our analytical capabilities and The Economist Group media channels.

What services do we offer?

1. Horizon scanning

Our global team of public policy consultants, country economists, and industry and thematic experts constantly monitors macroeconomic, geopolitical and societal trends. We can help you to identify emerging challenges and opportunities, and to understand how these could affect your organisation.

2. Scenario planning

We regularly work with corporations and international organisations to develop macroeconomic and geopolitical scenarios, tailored to suit their specific interests and concerns. Through workshops and engagement programmes, we can help you to improve your planning and frame complex strategic conversations with your leadership and external stakeholders.

3. Stress testing and economic forecasting

Our suite of economic models combines robust macroeconomic data with bespoke input. We can help you to test business investment plans, stress test risk strategies for major economic events or shocks (both global and local), create economic scenario forecasts for IFRS9/CECL compliance, link your key performance indicators to economic scenarios, and quantify the economic impact of policy decisions.

4. Industry and policy thought leadership

Megatrend and scenario analysis offers a powerful platform for engaging policymakers and business leaders on critical issues. By framing the conversation on how the future may unfold, we can help you to conduct high-profile conversations on issues that matter. Our programmes combine analytical depth with The Economist Group media capabilities, allowing you to effectively engage with your target audiences.

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How have we helped our clients?

ict logo

One of China’s ICT firms ran into difficulty while expanding into new markets and needed to reach consensus on what would shape Asia’s business landscape in the next decade. Our consulting team populated a PESTLE framework to identify critical trends and a series of critical issues that would have an impact on the client’s business, driving internal alignment among the firm’s leadership team. Through original analysis and workshops, we helped the client develop a new strategy for addressing key issues relevant to its business expansion plans.

undp logo

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wanted to gain a deeper understanding of potential structural changes in the development sector in Asia over the coming decade. We developed a comprehensive research framework to help the UNDP’s leadership team engage in a strategic conversation on this issue. Drawing on expert insight and secondary research, we analysed key trends to develop an understanding of their trajectories to 2030. We then developed three scenarios to reflect the impact each trend could have on Asia. We presented our findings at the UNDP’s Regional Management Meeting and we facilitated a series of scenario workshops.

investment firm logo

An investment management firm was looking for a data-driven assessment of the unmet potential of the world’s major economies in order to flag upside risks for their investors. Using our pioneering Global Vector Auto Regression (GVAR) model, we produced forecasts for series such as GDP, interest rates and stock market indices for China, Japan, India and the United States. Drawing on the expertise of our country and global economists, we provided rich contextual analysis for these scenarios, driving strategic conversations with clients and investors.

google logo

Google was looking to shape the debate on the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the economy. We helped Google drive this conversation by developing a scenario-based economic impact forecast, establishing headline estimates of economic growth and productivity in five major economies in 2030. We developed three scenarios for each economy—two positive and one negative—based on policy levers related to machine learning, such as human capital development and access to open data. These scenarios helped to frame opportunities and risks in the proliferation of machine learning—a major point of interest for the client. We added Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the forecast in subsequent iterations of this project.

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Our Foresight and Scenario Service helps organisations to understand emerging trends, address strategic challenges, capitalise on opportunities and make better decisions