(Credit Image: ESO/P. Horálek) This is the 16 January 2020 issue of our weekly scan for geopolitical risks (open access). Using horizon scanning, each week, we collect weak – and less weak – signals. These point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems. As a result, they indicate how trends or dynamics evolve. This week’s […]
Building scenarios is a crucial methodology to anticipate and prepare for the future. The higher the uncertainty, the more important it is to be able to mitigate risks to develop winning responses. However, it is crucial to use good scenarios. Good scenarios are sound methodologically and include knowledge and understanding of the issue at hand. […]
This article focuses on scenarios for war. It explains first why scenarios need to be mutually exclusive. Then it provides logical templates for building scenarios dealing with war. Finally it offers an updated bibliography of scenarios for Syria over time. Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1) Methodology to […]
Google has reportedly achieved the famous Quantum Supremacy, as the Financial Times first reported on 20 September 2019.
Despite heated discussions regarding the validity of the claim (e.g. Hacker News), this reminds us that a world with quantum computers is about to be born. All actors need to take this new future into account, in all its dimensions. This is even truer for those concerned with international security at large.
This new series focuses on understanding the coming quantum-AI world. How will this future world look like? What will be the impacts on geopolitics and international security? When will these changes take place…
The incredible and growing amount of information available nowadays presents us with specific challenges we need to overcome. Meanwhile, the rediscovery of propaganda and the power of rumours spread on social networks, now labelled “fake news”, only make more acute the need to find our way through the mass of information available. This is even […]
Foreseeing the future, whatever the name given to the endeavour, includes two major tasks.
The first one is, of course, the analysis, the process according to which the foresight, forecast, warning, or, more broadly, anticipation is obtained.
The second one is less obvious, or rather so evident that it may be overlooked. It is, however, no less vital than analysis. We need to deliver the output of the analytical process to those who need the foresight, the decision-makers or policy-makers. Ideally, the recipients must understand that output, because they will act on it. They need to integrate the new knowledge received in the decisions they will take.*
A huge challenge runs across these tasks: biases.
We must overcome the various natural and constructed biases – systematic mental errors – that limit human understanding. This article will present first the classical way we deal with biases: we consider them – quite rightly – as “enemies” and we devote much effort to mitigate them. Then, considering the specificity of the delivery stage, this article suggests that another strategy is necessary. We need to turn our usual strategy on its head and befriend biases. In that case, scenarios become a tool of choice for an enhanced delivery of our foresight to decision-makers […]
(Rewritten and revised edition) Horizon scanning and monitoring for warning are part of the family of activities used to foresee the future, anticipate uncertainty and manage risks. Their practice is crucial for successful strategic foresight and warning, risk management, futurism or any anticipatory activity. While monitoring is a generic and common term used for many […]
Risk management is codified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is aimed at any organisation concerned with risk, be it public or private (Sandrine Tranchard, “The new ISO 31000 keeps risk management simple“, ISO News, 15 Feb 2018). Its forebear is actuarial science, i.e. methodologies to assess risk in insurance and finance (e.g. […]
From the corporate world to governments, we seek to escape uncertainty and surprises. This is crucial to survive and thrive. It is also necessary for the protection from threats, dangers and risks. As a whole and generally, our abilities – if not willingness – to identify threats has improved with experience and practice. Notably, we became relatively efficient in […]
Each week, our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals, which point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems. As a result, they indicate how trends or dynamics evolve. Here, we focus on signals that could favourably or unfavourably impact private and public actors in international security. That field is broadly known under various […]