Making sense of future uncertainties using real options and scenario planning

Maartje van Reedt Dortland, Johannes T. Voordijk, Geert P.M.R. Dewulf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Healthcare across the world is facing many uncertainties. In Dutch healthcare, a recent policy change is forcing health organizations to deal more efficiently with their real estate, and this increases the need for real estate strategies that are more flexible. In order to support managers in incorporating flexibility in their decision-making over the design of new healthcare facilities, we have developed a method that combines scenario planning and real options. Scenario planning enhances sensemaking over the consequences of future uncertainties, and real options should help in addressing flexibility in decision-making through weighing the pros and cons of flexibility measures. We illustrate the sensemaking process by applying the method to a hospital, to a forensic clinic and to a care organization for vulnerable citizens. Data collection took place through interviews and workshops. We found that the identity and characteristics of the workshop participants influenced the sensemaking process. The method proved a useful means of making sense of abstract uncertainties that influence an organization, aspects that are normally outside the scope of real estate managers. The real options approach offered a more structured way of balancing the costs and benefits of strategies in dealing with future uncertainties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-31
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-301601
  • IR-88915


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