Energy Institute at Texas A&M University

For the newly formed Energy Institute at Texas A&M University, Conbrio led a scenario planning project to help the institute discover how it could thrive in a world of declining grant dollars for research. A key element of the project was assessing the traditional culture of the university and contrasting it with the very different culture needed by the institute, a culture which would build on collaboration among professors from several departments banding together to seek very large grants. The project also helped participants including vice chancellors, other A&M institute representatives and engineering school department heads process organizational issues around the basic building blocks of starting an institute. Participants, including one of the university’s Nobel Laureates, created four possible, alternative scenarios in which the institute might find itself over the coming years.  Working with the different scenarios both positive and negative, participants sought to create strategies allowing the institute to be successful in both good and bad times.  The outcome was a strategic plan which institute leaders successfully used to execute specific actions to move the institute forward over the next year.