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7-Misc: Crystal-ball 1 - biotech companies plan GM future

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TITLE:  Biotech firms eye crystal ball
SOURCE: New York Times, by Barnaby Feder
DATE:   June 24, 1999

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Biotech firms eye crystal ball

The biotechnology industry is increasingly turning to an unusual
form of corporate planning called "story building," or scenario
creation, "to try to make sense of the future." Large
corporations use story building -- "a specialized form of
crystal-ball gazing" -- to generate contrasting visions of future
possibilities that would not show up in conventional business
plans. The New York Times reports that St. Louis-based Monsanto
Co. and 13 other members of the World Business Council for
Sustainable Development have hired consultants "to help them
paint a portrait of the biotechnology landscape of the year
2030." The companies "see plenty of reason to worry about
unpredictable setbacks," amid recent food-safety scares and a
study showing genetically modified corn may harm butterflies. The
scenarios being developed will not be finished before the end of
this summer. One scenario envisions consumers and financial
markets deciding that most biotechnology applications are not as
appealing as the alternatives. The WBCSD project is just one of
several scenario projects being run on genetically modified

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