Chantell and Clem’s Books

The Mind of a Fox: Scenario Planning in Action

Many of the world’s true leaders in politics, business and sport have succeeded by adopting the mental processes typical of the ingenuity of one of nature’s most resourceful animals – the fox. Are these mental processes extraordinary? No, they are perfectly natural and can be a powerful tool in scenario planning and making decisions.

By drawing on fascinating examples found in business, nature, science, space and sport, Chantell Ilbury and Clem Sunter provide a crisp and entertaining analysis of the mind of a fox and identify the two questions you should ask before committing yourself to action: what do you and do you not control? What is certain and uncertain about the future?

They have constructed an ingenious matrix around these questions, which assists you to identify the rules of the game; assess the key uncertainties; paint scenarios; evaluate realistic options, and thereby make effective decisions. Essentially the matrix will give you the edge: The Mind of a Fox.

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 Games Foxes Play: Planning for Extraordinary Times

Was a massive terrorist strike on Western soil imaginable before 9/11? Yes, if you read The Mind of a Fox, the No. 1 bestseller published in June 2001, which transformed scenario planning from an esoteric discipline into a practical model widely used in the business world.

Now the authors, Chantell Ilbury and Clem Sunter, have extended their model to allow companies to have an intense strategic conversation based on the idea that business is a game which you have to understand before examining different strategies to play it.

In Games Foxes Play – Planning for Extraordinary Times, the authors challenge the American orthodoxy that only leaders with a fixed, central vision (hedgehogs) can achieve greatness. They argue that leaders with a balanced set of beliefs and the capability of adapting to change (foxes) are more likely to win the game in the extraordinary times we live in.

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 Socrates & the Fox: A Strategic Conversation

Take the analytical method of the father of Western philosophy (Socrates) and the wily habits of nature’s cleverest animal (the fox). Add a hint of Eastern mysticism from one of the finest minds ever to grace the field of scenario thinking (Pierre Wack).

Blend all three of these elements – with a sprinkling of originality and plenty of experimentation – into a strategic conversation model and what have you got? Socrates & the Fox.

Chantell Ilbury and Clem Sunter have constructed an agenda of ten questions which, if answered fearlessly and honestly by the management of any organisation, will provide them with a clear idea of their future in the ‘game’. Numerous examples from the sessions that the authors have facilitated around the world are given by way of illustration.

Read Socrates & the Fox – you will never see strategy and tactics in quite the same light again.

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The Fox Trilogy: Imagining the Unimaginable and Dealing with it

The Fox Trilogy celebrates the 10th anniversary of the revolution in strategic thinking sparked by the publication of The Mind of a Fox by Chantell Ilbury and Clem Sunter.

Now available for the first time in one volume with the sequels Games Foxes Play and Socrates & the Fox, this book traces the development of a methodology that is now used around the world by large and small organisations alike. It assumes the future is unpredictable and should be split into different scenarios, each of which has its own flags, probability and optimum course of action. Decisions are based on the balance of evidence.

The model provides people with a speed and quality of response to change that only foxes possess.

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Chantell’s latest book

A Fox’s Tale: Insights from one of Africa’s Most Creative Strategic Thinkers

Sit down with one of Africa’s most creative strategic minds, and really get to know her and how she thinks … In this book, and for the first time, Chantell Ilbury – bestselling business author, renowned scenario strategist and speaker – tells her remarkable story.

It covers her formative years in a country at war, her early days as an educator and entrepreneur, the roots of her successful partnership with Clem Sunter, and what she has learned steering the executive-level strategies of global organisations and some of the biggest names in business.

She also talks candidly about dealing with physical threat, controversy, reputational risk and the dangers of a woman travelling the world alone; and provides refreshing perspectives on entrepreneurism, working in Africa, balancing the demands of family and business, and on women in the corporate working environment.

A Fox’s Tale is loaded with strategic insight, yet often reads like an adventure novel, rich with humour and entertaining anecdotes.

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Clem’s latest book

Flagwatching: How a Fox decodes the future

With “Flagwatching”, top-selling author Clem Sunter breaks new ground. Building on the more abstract discipline of scenario planning for which he is internationally known, this book offers an innovative, highly practical method for decoding the future. Flagwatching is something we do every day.

Whether it is detecting a change of facial expression during a conversation with a friend, spotting the potential dangers when driving a car or monitoring our own health, we are on the alert for significant flags.

Now Sunter weaves a persuasive and entertaining case for applying this natural habit to the field of organisational strategy. Learn to identify the flags that are changing the game, play the different scenarios and consider your options before taking action. This book provides a diverse set of flags to watch in the world at large and in South Africa. It will help your business or organisation become a leader in anticipating our fast-changing times.

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