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Olvi: Futures thinking and scenario work training

We helped Olvi, a Finnish beverage company, look into and define its place in the future – and shape success right now. With practical examples and tools for working together towards new opportunities, the company is now more inspired and prepared than ever.

The challenge

Traditionally, a company’s decision-making concentrates on the near future and is based on economic figures. When the operational environment is in turmoil, a straightforward approach is not enough, and organizations need plans for several alternative trends. Instead of just studying the reports and identifying changes that are happening, Olvi wanted to understand what the impact of megatrends is on their business over the next 10 years, and how to best prepare for the future today. The topic, an Introduction to futures thinking and scenario work, was represented at Olvi Academy Leadership Training 2021.


  • Understanding future challenges and opportunities: more motivation, preparedness, and possibilities to succeed in an uncertain world.

  • Tangible change in culture: the ideal future is built upon the right actions of today.

  • A comprehensive view into the future: e.g., the technologies, capabilities, services, funding models and partnerships the company may need.

What we did

We held a three-day futures thinking and scenario work training, during which Olvi’s global leadership teams concentrated on five selected business themes, facilitated by our experts. The themes were sustainable development, digitalization, globalization, changing population structure and consumer behavior. The future work process consisted of three modules: environmental scanning, imagining futures, and drawing conclusions. Before the training, we’d already collaborated with Olvi on the Future of Retail project, and Olvi’s internal team also had identified the impacts of the industry megatrends for their company.

On the first day, we had a group chat about the megatrends and the food and beverage industry’s past. Then, we started coworking in small groups, exploring the chosen themes in more detail, and defining the key components for the phenomena. At the end of the day, the groups voted on the 3-4 most important topics they wanted to continue working on the next day. On the second day, the teamwork continued, inspired by the chosen phenomena. The goal was to understand Olvi’s role in the future world. The teams first reviewed the previously chosen topics, created various outcomes, described the future world, and mapped what kinds of signals could indicate the volume and pace of the possible change, and what phenomenons would support it. Next, the discussion turned to understanding how Olvi would perform in the future world, with initial actions defined. On the third day, we wrapped up the different futures and their impact on Olvi.

Find out more on our Lean Futures Toolkit ->

Why it matters

Correct action today makes a better tomorrow. When people are involved in the creation process, they are much more invested in and committed to a vision for the future. The process helped Olvi understand what challenges and opportunities the future might bring, how likely these scenarios are, and what kinds of actions are needed to make an impact and find success. Influential futures work is more than just studying – it’s a tangible change in culture through understanding. As people’s perspectives go from daily routines to new opportunities, they can make decisions that help build the future, and their motivation increases. Strategy renewal, futures thinking and scenario work helped Olvi draw conclusions about issues like the technologies, capabilities, services, funding models and partnerships the company may need.

Everyone was delighted to start looking into the future. The training was well facilitated and it progressed effectively. We got more understanding and practical tools in a short period of time and, most importantly, understood that futures work is something that needs to be done systematically.
Marjatta Rissanen
Customer Service and Administration Director, Olvi Oyj

About Olvi Oyj

Olvi is a Finnish beverage company which wants to offer its consumers beverage enjoyment . Olvi has produced beverages since 1878 in Iisalmi. Currently the company operates locally in Finland, Belarus, the Baltic states, and Denmark. In 2020, the company's turnover was EUR 44.9 m€ and it employed 1,911 people.

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