Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Technological Forecasting & Social Change Revisiting and extending our understanding of Pierre Wack's the gentle art of re-perceiving George Burt University of Strathclyde, Department of Management, Strathclyde Business School, Room 2.15, 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 0QU, Scotland, UK a r t i c l e i n f o Article history: Received 22 March 2010 Received in revised form 19 June 2010 Accepted 21 June 2010 Keywords: Pierre Wack ‘Set’ of scenarios Predetermined elements Re-perceiving reality a b s t r a c t Pierre Wack's 1985 Harvard Business Review papers are two of the most frequently referenced in the scenario planning literature. Wack argued that planning had to be based on the more predictive elements of the business environment. If not, plans would be based on uncertainty and a ‘best guess’ basis. Yet there is a lack of subsequent empirical research to investigate Pierre Wack's contribution. The research ﬁndings presented in this paper extend our understanding of Wack's contribution. We show how social discourse during scenario building helped to make sense and reveal the signiﬁcance of historical events. These historical events were seen, but not previously understood; consequently a new understanding of reality emerged. The ﬁndings are in contrast to Wack's explanation of re-perceiving and extend our understanding of the basis of re-perceiving with scenarios. © 2010 Published by Elsevier Inc. 1. Introduction Exploring and understanding uncertainty in the business environment are a key element of the (intuitive-logics) scenario planning and futures studies literature [1–5]. Uncertainty can be understood as “an individual's perceived inability to predict something accurately” [4, p 136]. Its importance is derived from the concern about organizational ﬁt and adaptation [6–10]. Fit and adaptation are supported through the identiﬁcation of predetermined elements in the business environment [2,3]. Wack argued that planning had to be based on the more predictive elements of the business environment. If not, plans would be based on uncertainty and a best guess basis. For this reason scenario planning has grown in importance as an approach to explore and understand uncertainty . Yet, within the scenario planning literature there is confusion on the role of scenario planning [11,12]. By looking closely at the evolution of the literature it is possible to derive a range of views on the role of scenario planning. These views range from scenarios-as-grounded speculation to scenarios-as-organizational learning to scenarios-as-sense-making and becoming. The confusion in the literature between these views does not help managers when they experience “increased volatility in the business environment [6, p 491]”!! Each of these views will be elaborated in the next section. The confusion in the literature suggests that the theoretical and practical importance and understanding of predetermined elements and the gentle art of re-perceiving may be over-looked in the literature. Therefore, it is now appropriate to re-examine these important constructs. This paper examines Wack's contribution by ﬁrst discussing the ontological and epistemological nature of the environment. The discussion sheds some light on the confusion between the speculation and organizational learning views. This paper identiﬁes that the intuitive-logics scenario planning literature has been dominated by methodological developments (post-Wack). Yet, at the same time there are calls in the literature to understand better how it can contribute to the strategic management of organizations . Many of those contributions acknowledge Wack and seek to gain legitimacy through such association. This paper synthesizes and integrates Wack's ideas to develop an overarching framework that was implicit in his E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. 0040-1625/$ – see front matter © 2010 Published by Elsevier Inc. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2010.06.027 G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 1477 papers. The lack of understanding about such integration may provide one explanation as to why Wack's ideas have not been developed further in the literature. The goal of this paper is to determine if Wack's ideas are still relevant. The contribution of this paper is a new and extended explanation of the gentle art of re-perceiving. This will be achieved by empirically-derived evidence. The contribution will be in three areas. First, we will shed light on the role of a ‘set’ of scenarios to develop a ‘macroscopic’ view of the business environment. Second, we will show how the process of social discourse during scenario building helped to identify historical actions, that were seen but not previously recognized, were pushing for a predetermined element. Third, we will show how the scenario process brought about the re-perceiving of reality. All are central to the success of scenario planning work. The remainder of this paper is organized in ﬁve parts. The next section brieﬂy reviews the scenario planning literature postWack, including an elaboration of Wack's principles. The third section treats research methodology and case setting. The fourth section provides an empirical elaboration of Wack's three principles. The ﬁfth section discusses the signiﬁcance of the empirical evidence with regard to the gentle art of re-perceiving. Finally conclusions are drawn including possible future research opportunities. 2. The organization–environment relationship, literature evolution, and Pierre Wack 2.1. The organization–environment relationship The organization–environment relationship is a central area for researchers interested in long-term strategic planning and thinking, with the primary aim to help the organization maintain ﬁt with its environment . Maintaining ﬁt is based on a teleological perspective  set within a critical realist paradigm . The relationship is of particular interest to those researching scenario planning and futures studies [15,16]. Research on scenario planning is predominately within this paradigm . 2.2. Evolution of scenario literature The French and American origins of scenario planning, inﬂuences and differences between scenario planning are discussed in detail in this special edition (see Godet, Godet and Durance, and Durance). This paper acknowledges the lasting contribution of all of these foundations that have been fundamental to the development of scenario planning. The evolution of the (intuitive-logics) scenario planning literature can be organized into three distinct views. The ﬁrst view: ‘scenarios-as-grounded speculation’ is based on the work of Kahn , Kahn and Wiener  and Tofﬂer . The speculative view suggests that “scenario planning is a disciplined method for imagining possible futures [20, p 25]” and that “scenarios ... are a special category of thought experiments and as such they deal with the domain of the possible and probable i.e. with the world of speculation [21, p 815]”. This view is concerned with ‘thinking the unthinkable’ to challenge established (and institutionalized) thinking, and is still evident in the literature . The second view: ‘scenarios-as-organizational learning’ is based on in-depth analysis of systems and systemic structures [22,23]. Organizational learning is important as “management must be able to recognise and interpret external events so that any major shifts in the environment which make current strategies vulnerable are anticipated and possible outcomes formulated [24, p 173]”. It is due to the dominance of this view in the literature that prompts the re-examination of the ‘gentle art of re-perceiving’. The third view: ‘scenarios-as-sense-making and becoming’ has emerged recently. It considers the environment to be in a continual process of enfolding and unfolding [25–27]. It is through the social construction and sense-making processes that environment comes into being . 3. Elaboration of Wack's ‘the gentle art of re-perceiving’ Wack is credited in many sources as being one of the early contributors of the growth in the intuitive-logics scenario planning approach . His two papers being among the most frequently referenced publications. In these two papers, Wack discussed the problems and challenges of developing relevant scenarios; the role of detailed analysis to reveal the (often hidden) systemic structures and driving forces that create predetermined elements. His goal was to change managerial mindsets. He called it ‘the gentle art of re-perceiving’ [2,3,29]. By synthesizing Wack's two papers, it is possible to conceptualise a framework for scenario planning based on three principles. These three principles are intrinsically linked to one another. It is argued here that the framework is a process designed to support how a manager perceives, interprets and understands the changing business environment. New interpretation should lead to new understanding and acting. Each principle is now elaborated. 3.1. Principle 1 — the macroscope The ﬁrst of the three principles is the “macroscope”, a metaphor to bring out the idea of the wider, complex inter-connected system in which an organization exists . The bigger system contains driving forces, as well as temporal, sequential, processual and reverse causality effects, which combine to create systemic structures and relationships driving change. The idea behind the “macroscope” (from macro — great, and skopein — to observe) is to help and encourage people to explore their environment over a wider area than they would normally undertake . Wack developed de Rosnay's idea of the macroscope in the context of scenario planning. Wack was arguing that it is important to acknowledge and understand the bigger system within which an organization exists otherwise problem-solving would be reactive and event-based. 1478 G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 3.2. Principle 2 — predetermined elements Wack argued that it was ultimately possible to identify predetermined elements in the business environment. Predetermined elements are driving forces pushing for outcomes that are systemically inevitable although their timing and consequences may not be known fully [2,3]. Predetermined elements could be determined as arising from: • events that are in the pipeline and will emerge in time; • inter-related actions pushing for a particular outcome; and/or • inertial forces within the system which are slow to change. 3.3. Principle 3 — change in mindset The purpose of the ﬁrst two principles is the development of new understanding of the business environment that leads to change in managerial mindsets. If no ‘impact’ arose from scenario planning then management would continue in their business-asusual ways. The implication being that business plans would be underpinned by yesterday's (unreliable) assumptions. However, Wack (and others) recognized that there were signiﬁcant barriers to overcome. Barriers such as: managerial recipes and industry recipes [31,32]. Recipes are professional knowledge based on common experiences from which a set of beliefs and some rules of thumb are developed. Over time they become habitualized and institutionalized. Once institutionalized these recipes guide managerial thinking and acting by determining (and limiting) ‘what is for us’ and ‘what is not for us’. To counter this situation, Wack argued that scenarios help managers gain a fresh perspective about the interplay between factors, actors and variables in the business environment. Assumptions would be challenged by exposing new, and previously unrecognized driving forces. They were previously either not ‘seen’ (that is, hidden) or were seen and not understood clearly. Emergent insights would fundamentally challenge the legitimacy of their existing assumptions, which had been the basis of planning in the past. By deriving a new understanding, managers would be able to better understand the inevitable drivers of change and plan accordingly. 4. Subsequent developments in the literature Following Wack, there have been many methodological advances in the literature. Although these contributions cite Wack as a key reference, they have not challenged or developed his ideas. Some of the key methodological advances include linking scenarios to investment risk and return on capital ; reinventing planning as learning with scenarios to move towards a processual perspective ; the process of and steps to link scenario planning and organizational learning ; integrating scenarios and strategy to develop a more holistic planning approach ; internal consistency of scenarios based on three requirements: trend consistency, outcome consistency and stakeholder consistency ; overcoming heuristic biases with scenarios to improve Table 1 Evolution of scenario planning methodology. Concept Methodological contribution and explanation Citation Predetermined elements Concern that planning is based on out-of-date and habituated assumptions; need to distinguish between uncertainty and predetermined elements to bring more certainty to business plans; re-perceiving worldviews. Testing strategic investments for investment risk and corporate return using scenarios analysis. Challenge to the dominant forecasting approach to business planning; more emphasis to be placed on making plans dynamic and adaptable. New approach to integrate key aspects of business planning including strategic vision, competitive analysis; scenario planning; and strategic options as an ongoing cycle of planning. Differentiating global, decision and local scenarios and the link to local business plans. ,  Concerns over the reliance and plausibility of scenarios by differentiating three elements of internal consistency: trend, stakeholder and outcome. Consideration of heuristic biases in decision-making and how scenarios can help overcome such biases.  Risk and return Planning as learning Scenarios as organizational learning Linking scenarios and strategy Internal consistency Decision making and scenarios Disciplined imagination The process of creating scenarios and linking them to core competencies to generate strategic options. Wild cards and weak signals Sudden and unexpected events are introduced to map out unexpected trends or movements, to help identify potential weak signals. Paradoxical trends Widening the understanding of types of trends and their implications for building scenarios. Weak signals and peripheral Scanning to notice events that may offer insights into strategic opportunities or the ﬁrst sign of vision discontinuity. Simulation and modelling of The development of simulation and dynamic modelling to explain systemic structures in scenarios and within scenarios Systems modelling Introduction of feedback loops, behavior-over-time graphs and inﬂuence diagrams to describe dynamic systemic structures.            G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 1479 decision-making [38,39]; a process to link scenarios and strategic options ; identifying wild cards and weak signals in scenarios ; identifying paradoxical trends in scenarios ; weak singles and peripheral vision ; simulation and modelling ; and integrating systems methods with scenarios [44,45] (see Table 1 below). A number of questions arise from this discussion of the literature. Is it only through detailed systems analysis that predetermined elements can be identiﬁed? Is there an alternative way that scenarios help to identify predetermined elements? How do scenarios help managers re-perceive reality? These questions will be explored below. 5. Research methods, case study and scenario planning This section describes the research design and ﬁeld methods to address the above questions. There is also a discussion of the scenario planning intervention. 5.1. Research design The research objective was to undertake exploratory research  as there is a lack of empirical evidence to challenge or develop Wack's ideas. The exploratory research was undertaken with the agreement of the case study management as they experimented with scenario planning for the ﬁrst time as part of their approach to strategic management. The research design was inﬂuenced by the aim of developing a rich understanding of the intricacies of the intervention as it unfolded in both a temporal and contextual manner . The research design allowed the researcher intimate proximity to study the impact of the intervention . A longitudinal research project was undertaken and it lasted eighteen months. 5.2. Research ﬁeld methods The researcher was allowed unrestricted access to people and organizational information. Longitudinal data was gathered in two categories. First, observing the behavior of participants as an outsider. The participants consisted of the full management team including managing director, operations director, ﬁnancial director, human resources director, sales director, operations manager, quality manager, and the sales and marketing manager. Second, access to documentary information including annual reports, business plans and business cases were provided by the case study organization. In the ﬁrst category, both verbal and non-verbal during and after the intervention workshops was gathered. There were ﬁve workshops in total. Four of the ﬁve workshops lasted one day; the other workshop lasted two days (see below for a discussion on the nature of workshops). The workshops occurred in the ﬁrst four months of the research project. The researcher tracked the impact of the intervention over the next fourteen months. In addition, multiple data gathering methods were designed and adopted throughout the duration of the ﬁeld work. These multiple data gathering methods included interviews with each member of the management team. Interviews were conducted before the start of and at the conclusion of the intervention. A total of sixteen interviews were recorded verbatim in the ﬁeld diaries. Observational notes were written in the ﬁeld diaries throughout all of the workshops . Workshop input and outputs were captured and recorded in the ﬁeld diaries. Critical incidents that occurred during the workshops were recorded in the ﬁeld diaries . Meetings were held every month throughout the intervention with key informants . Meeting notes were recorded in the ﬁeld books. Collaborative inquiry [52,53] in the form of member checks  to explore the emergent ﬁndings with participants were also recorded in the ﬁeld diaries. The raw ﬁeld data was recorded in four research ﬁeld diaries by the researcher [49,55]. The research ﬁeld diaries ran to a total of 380 pages. There were 120 critical incidents. Reﬂective notes were developed and added as a running commentary on the unfolding impact of the intervention . There were 140 reﬂective notes. This raw ﬁeld data was transcribed fully and collated into a research database. Coding was based on searching for and identifying grounded categories. There were 260 coded entries in the research database. These coded entries were the basis of inductive data analysis [56,57]. The empirical ﬁndings are presented below. However, before discussing the empirical ﬁndings, the intervention approach and the case study organization are discussed. By providing this overview of the case study organization it is intended to help the reader to understand their context and business activities, the goals and aspirations of the management, the bases of organizational success, and the challenges that they faced at that time of the research project. 5.3. The scenario planning intervention As noted above, the application of the scenario methodology in the case study was based on a number of ‘action learning workshops’ where the participants worked together on problems that they deﬁned [58,59]. The workshops were derived from existing scenario methodology [10,60]. A brief description of each workshop and workshop objective is now provided: • workshop 1 — interview feedback, and development and agreement of the scenario agenda (by the case management team); • workshop 2 — discussion of issues in the scenario agenda (including outsiders), scenario building and sense-making through multiple plausible futures (created by the case management team); • workshop 3 — articulation of the strategic implications of the scenarios and development of optional responses in the form of possible strategic options (by the case management team); 1480 G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 • workshop 4 — development and reﬁnement of the logic of the strategic proposals; and • workshop 5 — development of a presentation of the emergent business case (by the case management team). The workshops were facilitated by an expert in scenario planning. 5.4. Case study organization: international spirits and drinks producer The case study organization belongs to a wider international drinks group, involved in producing and supplying Scotch whisky and other spirits. Within the portfolio of products the group holds one of the United Kingdom's leading blended whisky brands, as well as many of the world's leading malt whisky brands. The case organization's speciﬁc activities included blending and bottling whisky, as well as bottling other spirits. The group structure resulted in the case study organization having close relationships with other parts of the group. The basis of success of the case organization was deﬁned at the outset of the intervention. It was articulated by the management team as: “efﬁciency in whisky production from economies of scale (maximising throughput) to produce a low unit cost to provide proﬁts and funds for use elsewhere in the group” (Operations Director). Their distinctive competencies were seen to be: “focus on bottling and blending that makes us the industry benchmark for productivity in the midstream operations” (Operations Director). The generally accepted deﬁnition of their business landscape was based on a three-tier structure: “raw materials, blending and bottling, and brand management” (Managing Director and Operations Director). The strategic challenges articulated by the case management at the outset of the intervention were: “a focus on international expansion to countries such as China, Korea, Russia and India (to increase production throughput by 25% per annum)” (Managing Director, Operations Director and Sales and Marketing Director). 6. Empirical exploration of Wack's three principles This section is an empirical exploration of Wack's three principles that allows us to address the above research questions. A brief synopsis of the ‘set’ of scenarios that the case management team developed is provided ﬁrst. This is followed by a discussion of the ‘macroscope’ arising from the scenarios, including the identiﬁcation of what was (at that time) unfolding as a predetermined element. The limitations of the case management team's assumptions will also be highlighted and discussed. Finally, the interconnected relationship between the three principles will be explored to develop and extend the ‘gentle art of re-perceiving’. 6.1. Synopsis of the scenarios The case study management team developed set of three scenarios: Producer World, Distributor World and Provider World. The Producer World scenario described a situation of increased global demand for whisky, resulting in a dominant position in the international drink industry for whisky producers. This scenario can be understood as management's normative scenario. However, such a situation was not possible due to industry-wide moth-balled plant and excess capacity in existing operational facilities. The Distributor World scenario described a situation of recession and decline in demand for whisky. Sales of whisky were predominately low-value products. With the decline in demand for whisky, the supermarkets exerted their power over the supply chain, including the whisky producers. As the supermarkets controlled 65% of drinks retail sales (in the UK) they were in a position to determine which whisky products were allocated shelf-space and at what price. The Provider World scenario described a situation where technological development enabled new ways of communication between business organizations and business organizations (B2B) and business organizations and consumers (B2C). In this world a new type of player emerged in the industry—lifestyle providers. Examples of such lifestyle providers included: Visa, Virgin, Tesco, and Amazon. They responded to the opportunity provided by technological developments by broadening brand image from speciﬁc drinks (including whisky) into broader lifestyle images. Market forces gradually subordinated the identity of Scotch whisky as a product to more general lifestyle symbols controlled by the lifestyle providers. We will now explore each of the three principles. 6.2. Empirical evidence: principle 1 — the ‘macroscope’ view The scenario process enabled the management team to share their perceptions about elements of their wider, inter-connected environment, understand the interrelationships, and interaction of these elements. By building a ‘set’ of scenario stories they were able to conceptualise those elements into a relevant and meaningful system. An example of their emergent understanding is evident from the following comment: “With static demand, the distributor is all powerful, the distributor owns the consumer. The whisky industry has accelerated this situation; other drivers in the whole industry are creating a positive feedback loop of control for the distributor. This will lead to one EU distributor. We are beginning to see a trend emerge, for example, Intermarché taking over Thomson in France. The distributor is creating a monopoly situation.” (Operations director) This is evidence of the case management team identifying and connecting temporal and spatial developments in adjacent geographies. The ‘macroscope’ view enabled them to see the driving forces that were impacting the international spirits and drinks G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 1481 industry. Their insights revealed that the key element of control held by the industry was changing from the historical domination of ‘precious scotch’ (producers) to technological and physical control over access to market (retailers) and technological control over the supply chain (retailers and distributors). Both would impact demand for and supply of whisky (and other spirit) products. Table 2 provides a summary of the macroscope view. 6.3. Empirical evidence: Principle 2—the identiﬁcation of predetermined elements The case management team recognized a number of inter-connected historical events that had occurred, their signiﬁcance and consequences for control over the industry supply chain now became evident, including: • control of market access by supermarkets through shelf-space, as 65% of spirits were sold (in the UK) at supermarkets; • supermarkets exploiting past investment in information and communication technologies (ICT) and customer relationship management systems (CRM) to build customer loyalty to the supermarket, rather than to a brand / product; • supermarkets applying ICT to control supply chain through centralised logistics and distribution centers; • supermarkets as competitors through buyers-own-brands (BOBs) whisky and other spirits; • historical over-production of whisky (known in the industry as “whisky lochs”); and • growth of technology-driven lifestyle providers such as Visa, Virgin, Tesco and Amazon. The extent of supermarket control became clear to the case management team as is evident from their sense-making conversation: “I am depressed! We are being stuffed [ed. screwed] by our customers. We are locked into the risk of the customers.” (Managing director) “We are absorbing suppliers and customers risk. Supplier risk arises from us holding large stocks of empty bottles, labels, packages and bottle caps. We pay for these stocks before they have been used in the production process.” (Managing director) “We give value; create value for others, why? We take a product and create value in the process, for little reward.” (Operations director) The implications for the case study organization were becoming evident: “Internally we can be as efﬁcient as we wish, but if we don't control upstream and downstream logistics we will be unable to provide an efﬁcient and low cost service, as other actors are positioning themselves to gain such control.” (Operations director) These historical developments had resulted in the case organization being “squeezed” in the industry supply chain. Being “squeezed” by supermarkets through their application of ICT to gain control of the supply chain and block access to consumers and market information. Information about consumer demand and buying patterns rather than the importance of “precious scotch” had emerged as the future basis of success. As a consequence of the supermarkets exploiting ICT to gain control over the supply chain risk had passed to the whisky producer. The situation would be acerbated by in the future with the growth of lifestyle providers. Lifestyle providers were increasingly exploiting ICT to try to gain power over the supply chain. Table 3 below provides a summary of the predetermined elements that emerged. 6.4. Empirical evidence: principle 3 — change in mindset or ‘the gentle art of re-perceiving’ So did assumptions and belief systems of the case management team change? If so, how did they change? The gentle art of reperceiving was eluded to only very brieﬂy at the conclusion of the two Wack papers. This paper provides a new empirical-derived explanation. Table 2 Summary of the ‘macroscope’. Key principle Producer Distributor world world Macroscope Precious scotch Power of the supermarkets through the application of information and communication technologies in logistics and distribution to control the supply chain and downstream access to markets Provider world Role of lifestyle providers to reconﬁgure traditional market structures and overcome brand loyalty 1482 G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 Table 3 Predetermined elements. Key principle Producer world Predetermined element — inter-related actions pushing for a particular outcome Case study organization Close to the proximity to the market customer but remote from consumers Distributor world Provider world Application of information and communication technologies by the supermarkets to gain power in supply chain and control access to markets and overcome brand loyalty Remote from markets and consumers Application of information and communication technologies by lifestyle providers to control access to markets and overcome whisky brand loyalty Remote from markets and consumers As noted earlier, the management in the case study held an accepted deﬁnition of their business environment: raw materials, blending and bottling, and brand management as three separate activities. Their deﬁnition was based on (whisky) production efﬁciency as the basis of success. The re-perceived deﬁnition of their business environment was: production and customer relationships as two integrated activities. The re-perceived deﬁnition was derived from a combination of understanding risk in supply chain, the lack of market information on demand and buying patterns, and the growing power of customers (supermarkets) to control access to markets (consumers). The basis of power in the supply chain had changed. Change in the basis of power in the supply chain would make consistent production for low cost impossible. For the case study management regaining control of the supply chain was essential to compete economically in the future. The challenge was to ﬁnd an appropriate response. 7. Discussion To aid the elaboration of the empirical evidence and consider the signiﬁcance of the theory presented above, two areas are discussed to address the research questions posed earlier. The ﬁrst is on the role of predetermined elements in re-perceiving. The second is on frames of reference and re-perceiving with scenarios. 7.1. The role of predetermined elements in re-perceiving It is argued in this paper that predetermined elements are fundamental to re-perceiving. Here predetermined elements were identiﬁed by through social discourse. Understanding was based on the (at that time hidden) systemic structures created from historical actions of key actors. These systemic structures surrounded the case study organization. They had either not been perceived previously or perceived but not understood. The challenge was to make the hidden, visible and the knowable, known and understandable. The empirical evidence makes it clear that Wack's ideas are still relevant. For example, for the case study organization, historical ICT developments were driving on-line, real-time information ﬂows within the supply chain. The investment in systems, structures and processes created the opportunity for one organization to gain control over the supply chain. Systems, structures and processes were facilitating systemic lock-in. Investment in retailing logistics and distribution, through electronic order to fulﬁlment systems resulted in supply chain control by the supermarkets. Such systems had re-conﬁgured supply chain risk, moving risk from customers to producers who had to produce products either to fulﬁl customer orders at short-notice or to hold as stock. Fulﬁlling customer orders at short-notice made production scheduling and the achievement of economies of scale problematic for the case organization. In addition, production-for-stock tied up working capital, resulting in the whisky producer ﬁnancing future customer orders. Both of these activities made it problematic for the whisky producer to achieve its goal of low unit cost then or in the future. This understanding helped the management team redeﬁne the basis of success in their industry, from the three separate activities of raw materials, blending and bottling and brand management to production and customer relationships as one integrated activity. For them, the boundary of the relationship with customers needed to be extended to include the customer's customer (the consumer of the whisky). Prior to developing their change proposals the whisky producer did not have access to consumer information and therefore could not determine which products were demanded in which markets or when. 7.2. Frames of reference and re-perceiving The three-tier structure was their frame of reference to perceive and understand events. A frame of reference is the context, point of view, set of presuppositions, assumptions, evaluative criteria in so far as they form a cognitive system with which a person perceives, judges or selectively constrains a course of actions or outcome thereof . Re-perceiving is deﬁned as the means to change the conceptual and / or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame that ﬁts the facts of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire meaning . The ‘set’ of scenarios — the Producer World, The Distributor World and the Provider World provided a challenge to their frame of reference. It became clear to the management team that the key to success in the future would not be based on the historical dominance of ‘precious scotch’. The ‘set’ of scenarios revealed that a new emergent phenomenon, ICT to control the supply chain G. Burt / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 1476–1484 1483 and provide access to markets, would be the basis of success in the future. With this view of their business environment, the management team could re-perceive the reality that surrounded them. Their previously stated aspiration of “increase production throughput by 25% per annum, with a focus on international expansion to countries such as China, Korea, Russia and India” could now be understood as a solution to the wrong problem. They had agreed that greater volumes would help them solve their current challenges. However, increasing volumes was now understood to be a response to the problem of organizing production and scheduling arising from supply chain pressures. The (real) problem of the role of ICT to exert power to control the supply chain and control access to markets had become evident to them. The re-perceived view illuminated what they could see but had not (yet) understood. 8. Conclusion This article set out to consider the legacy and relevance of Pierre Wack by undertaking research to explore that gentle art of reperceiving. This paper synthesized Wack's ideas, making it possible to derive three integrated principles — the ‘macroscope’, predetermined elements, and re-perceiving. From the empirical evidence the ‘set’ of scenarios acted as their ‘macroscope’. This helped the case management team see and understand their wider business environment. By developing such a ‘macroscopic’ view they were able to identify what would be predetermined in the future: the decline of the ‘precious scotch’ with the emergence of the retailers as the dominant force in the supply chain. In Wack's two papers, he introduced his idea of predetermined elements, which he proposed were discovered by detailed systems research and analysis. This paper proposes an alternative approach. The scenario process created a social process to develop a coherent and shared understanding of their experiences. The ‘set’ of scenarios provided a rich topographic explanation of those experiences. The ‘set’ of scenarios helped them represent the factors and actors that were driving the predetermined element. For them, the ‘set’ of scenarios depicted the movement over time of the basis of success from ‘precious scotch’ to the third party control of the industry supply chain. Such power would be exerted through the application of ICTs. This new understanding challenged the case management team's assumptions. Once they grasped the signiﬁcance of the story that they were telling themselves, they were able to derive a new frame of reference to re-perceive their business environment. This paper extends Wack's ideas by providing a new, detailed empirically-derived explanation of the social process of reperceiving. Scenarios are an artefact of that process. This paper has implications for theory and practice. For theory, the concept of predetermined elements becomes a critical element in explaining the contribution of scenario planning to futures studies (and strategic management). It is argued here that identifying predetermined elements is central to the success or otherwise of scenario planning projects. For practitioners, the concept of predetermined elements becomes a central outcome to judge scenario projects. If predetermined elements are ignored there is a signiﬁcant risk that the outcome will be scenarios-as-speculation. Interesting as these may be, they may not be purposeful and not help the users of scenario planning. Several new research questions emerge from this ideas presented in this paper. First, do the ﬁndings of the research have resonance in other settings? Second, how can we better understand the micro processes of sense-making in more detail? These questions provide rich opportunities to study and understand the role of scenario planning in the future. References  B. Fischhoff, Hindsight and foresight: the effect of outcome knowledge on judgement under uncertainty, J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 1 (1975) 288–299.  P. 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K. Krippendorff, A second-order cybernetics of otherness, Syst. Res. 13 (3) (1996) 311–328. P. Watzlawick, J. Weakland, R. Fisch, Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution, W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1974. Dr George Burt is a senior lecturer in strategic management in the Department of Management, University of Strathclyde Business School. George Burt was awarded his PhD in 2002. His research interests are in the environment–organization relationship and the role of scenario planning as a facilitator of change. He has extensive consultancy experience, specialising in the application of the scenario methodology. He is co-author of the book “The Sixth Sense: Accelerating Organizational Learning with Scenarios” published by John Wiley & Sons.