Our Clients - Grant Thornton

Case Study – Grant Thornton 1 and 2

Case study 1


Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms

SAMI’s Role

SAMI worked with Grant Thornton UK from August 2013 to June 2014, following the four stages of strategy as below, in the project called “Future Perspectives”. SAMI’s role was as process adviser and facilitator, with Grant Thornton staff leading at all stages.

The first step was Board Awareness, SAMI Associate Dr Chris Yapp briefed the Board on the changes on the horizon, at the AwayDay in August 2013.

In September, Panel Chairmen and the research team met to think about the forces for change, using the SAMI trend cards and the Three Horizons methodology. They were also briefed on the role of interviews, and the use of the SAMI 7 questions: and defined the focal question for the scenarios.

The Outcomes

During the Strategic Intelligence phase, the research team provided support to the programme manager. This phase resulted in 14 major themes emerging, which the whole firm were invited to comment on via the internal social platform before a scenario workshop “Sense Making” in January. The scenarios created then formed the framework for a wind-tunnelling workshop in March to think about the implications for strategy, as a start to setting priorities. At the same time, the scenarios were tested against a range of external and internal groups – had group-think crept in? The “Future Perspectives” project and scenarios were presented at the Grant Thornton UK Partners Conference in May.

However, the scenarios had already affected the partnership internally as people had found that clients reacted very positively to the knowledge that Grant Thornton were undertaking this type of thinking.

SAMI people who worked on the project were Dr Chris Yapp, Dr Wendy Schultz, and Gill Ringland.

Case Study 2


Grant Thornton is one of the major global accounting networks and Grant Thornton member firms are leading business advisers helping organisations unlock their potential for growth.

SAMI’s Role

SAMI worked with Grant Thornton International Ltd (the coordinating entity of the Grant Thornton network), from January to May 2017, to explore ways in which futures planning techniques could be brought to life both in Grant Thornton member firms and with their clients. SAMI’s role was as process adviser and facilitator, with Grant Thornton staff leading at all stages.

The aim was to use future thinking techniques, including Looking Back and Three Horizons, as a basis for conversations to help all parts of the business to share thoughts and perceptions about what the future might have in store both for their business and also their clients and, by doing so, help everyone engage with, and meet, the challenges of the future.

The Outcomes

With the help of Grant Thornton staff we developed a set of drivers of change and scenarios for Europe in 2030. These pre-developed steps enabled us to design and develop a facilitated half-day workshop that Grant Thornton member firms can use with their clients to build dialogue both about a range of possible futures and also business challenges that the clients might face. This workshop was successfully piloted and then introduced across the member firms at their annual conference.