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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 […]

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 […]

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…

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. […]

Time in Strategic Foresight and Risk Management

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 […]

Strategic Foresight & Warning Analysis

Strategic Foresight and Warning (SF&W) is at once process and analysis. By SF&W analysis we mean all methodologies and related issues allowing for the development of an understanding grounded in reality that will generate best anticipatory products, useful to decision-makers and policy-makers for carrying out their mission (to find your way within the myriad of labels […]

Strategic Foresight Methodology

By strategic foresight methodology, we mean this part of the general strategic foresight and warning methodology that focuses on foresight analysis. In other words, it is the general method without the warning part. It thus consist in: Defining the question Step 1: Exploratory stage Step 2 – The creation of the model for SF&W: mapping […]

Modeling for Dynamic Risks and Uncertainties (1) : Mapping Risk and Uncertainty

(This article is a fully updated version of the original article published in November 2011 under the title “Creating a Foresight and Warning Model: Mapping a Dynamic Network (I)”). Mapping risk and uncertainty is the second step of a proper process to correctly anticipate and manage risks and uncertainties.  This stage starts with building a model, which, once completed, will describe and explain the issue or question at hand, while allowing for anticipation or foresight. In other words, with the end of the first step, you have selected a risk, an uncertainty, or a series of risks and uncertainties, or an issue of concern, with its proper time frame and scope, for example, what are the risks and uncertainties to […]

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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.

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