Systematic Review

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Systematic Review


Leadership inherently involves envisioning the future and then creating a plan to get there. Business leadership is no different. But when creating a shared vision for a sustainable future, planning gets tricky.

Practitioners rely heavily on estimates and forecasting in strategic planning. Insurance companies, for example, invest in predictive techniques hoping to position themselves favourably in the future. Yet, traditional projection models have limits – particularly when assessing long-term risks from issues such as climate change.

So which planning approach helps companies build a shared vision? A vision that is inclusive of different – even marginalized – stakeholders? And how can practitioners move their organizations towards a sustainable future in uncertain or volatile times?

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Still, research indicates that there are four dominant planning approaches in business: projection, adaptation, visionary planning (shaping the future) and transformation.

This NBS-SA report helps decision-makers navigate these planning approaches. It also outlines specific planning mechanisms and helps practitioners know when to apply them. Multiple case examples, such as from SAB Miller, Santam and Woolworths, highlight how companies integrate novel planning approaches into their business models,

Use this report to:

  • Select planning approaches and mechanisms most suitable to your organization and context.
  • Understand how to integrate nontraditional stakeholders.
  • Identify ‘entry points’ and ways to bridge institutional voids.
  • Create synergy between corporate plans and public sector plans for a sustainable future.

NBS-SA Shared Vision Framework

Planning for a Shared Vision of a Sustainable Future: Approaches, Mechanisms and Techniques


About the Research

This research was commissioned by NBS-SA. Prepared by Dr Martina Linnenluecke, Associate Professor Martie-Louise Verreynne, Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers, Mr Sarel Grönum and Ms Chanel Venter, this report incorporates the findings of 196 leading academic and industry sources on how businesses can engage in strategic planning that is linked to a shared vision for a sustainable future.

Specifically, it addresses the following questions:

  1. How can business and government create effective synergies between the strategic plans of organisations and the public sector for a sustainable future?
  2. What techniques, frameworks or mechanisms have proved effective in forecasting environmental and other changes, and in identifying strategic implications for organisations?
  3. How can such techniques be applied to help organisations make strategic decisions in the face of increasing socio-economic, technological, environmental and other changes, as well as high levels of uncertainty?
  4. How do organisations not only respond to different future scenarios, but engage in innovative and concerted efforts to influence the future?

Read the executive report, a summary of the systematic review, to quickly navigate the four planning approaches.

For more information on the project or reports, please contact Kristy Faccer,