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Intelligence, Strategic Foresight and Warning, Risk Management, Forecasting or Futurism?

This article defines and briefly explains the various names and labels given to activities and practices anticipating or foreseeing the future. Indeed, from risk management to Strategic Foresight and Warning (SF&W) the field of anticipation includes many perspectives and practices centred on different themes. Meanwhile, various actors use different names for SF&W, or very similar approaches. It is thus important to clarify what various labels and names mean, even if borders between categories are often fuzzy.

Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (6) : The Psychological Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks

This article is the second of a two-parts of a series seeking to identify the impacts of the current and most probably forthcoming terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, and focuses on major socio-psychological consequences. It follows a first article, which started outlining a framework for impact assessment out of our current understanding of the economic consequences of terrorism, which notably pointed out the need to use mapping as methodology if the complex and cascading characters of these impacts are to be properly assessed. The larger aim of the series is notably to understand if businesses should or not neglect these aggressions and related geopolitical uncertainties, while finding out ways to foresee these risks so as to best design answers (see Helene Lavoix, “Businesses and Geopolitics: Caught up in the Whirlwinds? (1)”, The Red (Team) Analysis Society, 17 Oct 2016)

To find out which could be the psychological impacts of the ongoing string of terrorist attacks, we

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COVID-19: Anticipation, Timing and Influence – From Mobility Restriction to Medicine Shortage

Scenarios regarding the future of the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak in China and globally vary wildly (David Cyranoski, “When will the coronavirus outbreak peak?“, Nature, 18 February 2020). The estimates go from the outbreak peaking at the end of February 2020 to months away with millions infected (Ibid.). The WHO Director-General stressed the necessity to remain […]

How to Analyse Future Security Threats (4): Scenarios and War

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 […]

When Risk Management Meets Strategic Foresight and Warning

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. […]

Expressing and Understanding Estimative Language

When dealing with the future, we use a language that includes specific notions such as the expression of probability and of impacts. In terms of probability, for example, we use words such as “likely” and for impacts terms such as “severe”. Furthermore, to be truly complete, we should add a confidence judgement. As explained by […]

How to Analyze Future Security Threats (3): Scenarios as an Organic Living System

This article is the third of a series looking for a methodology that would fulfill the challenging criteria demanded by our time. We shall now focus on scenarios, which are a way to simulate how the actors we defined and described during the previous step interact, not only among themselves but also with their environment, up until the end of the chosen timeframe. Using the precedent post’s game of chess analogy, with scenarios we imagine the various ways the game may “end”. Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1)Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats (2): a Game of ChessHow to Analyse Future Security Threats (3): Scenarios as an Organic Living SystemHow to Analyse Future Security Threats (4): Scenarios […]

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Foreseeing the Future Quantum-Artificial Intelligence World and Geopolitics

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…

Beyond the End of Globalisation – From the Brexit to U.S. President Trump

The world has entered a period where uncertainty rules and where surprises abound.

Focusing on 2016, the two major surprises usually singled out are the Brexit or the vote leading to the exit of the U.K. from the European Union, then the election of U.S. President Trump against favourite Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Even though a short-term focus could let us believe that the turmoil only or mainly hits “the West”, political and geopolitical surprises and uncertainties have multiplied worldwide, starting at least with the shock of the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 and responses to it (see end note for some major instances*).

What is thus happening? How are we to tackle the uncertainty? Are these surprises related or discrete independent events that it would be wrong to link or try to understand together?

We shall start here with the 2016 surprises and related ongoing uncertainty, i.e. the Brexit and the U.S. Trump Presidency, and focus more particularly on the contradictions and questions that arise when we compare the two phenomena. We shall seek a framework for and elements of understanding, which can then be used in the development of scenarios for the future.

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Modeling for Dynamic Risks and Uncertainties (2) : Mapping a Dynamic Network

Go back to Part 1

Actually, any SF&W model as it primarily deals with time should be a dynamic network. How can we expect obtaining any potential outline for the future if our model for understanding is static?

Our map thus aims at representing the potential dynamics of polities. We shall notably use Ertman’s work on past state-building, but making it adaptable to present and future conditions.

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