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 […]
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 […]
Having organized the scenarios and detailed the general methodology for Scenario 2 in the last article, we shall now discuss the indicators for intervention and determine the likelihood of intervention occurring for the General National Congress (GNC), Council of Representatives (COR), and Government of National Accord (GNA), as well as see how the general case envisioned previously needs to be amended to reflect the reality on the ground as interventions have started. The initial narratives for the intervention scenarios can be found here (scenarios 2(1) to 2(9)). Note: we shall use the acronym COR for the Council of Representatives (nationalists), GNC for the General National Congress (Islamists), and GNA for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (unity government). Scenarios trees for […]
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.
Having detailed the various potential scenarios for Libya’s future over the next three to five years, we shall now evaluate the likelihood of the scenarios thanks notably to their indicators. We shall use the methodology developed by The Red (Team) Analysis Society, building upon Heuer (“Assessing Probability of a Scenario”, in Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, […]
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
This series of two articles focuses on the current development of the Russian Arctic region, while explaining and demonstrating the importance of using strategic thinking for governments as well as for business actors. Indeed, the international dynamics of geopolitical and environmental changes, including their interactions, are becoming so rapid and powerful that political and business actors have […]
This post will focus on a third analytical challenge at the core of the foresight and warning process, the fact that actors and “factors”, or rather variables, are often mixed together. Using the example of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, the first post of the series explained how to map a strategic foresight and warning question, notably how to move from factors to variables and the second underlined the importance to define and name the actors relevant to the question as objectively as possible and suggested ways to do it. The “black box” actor As we recall from the last post, during the first steps of a mapping for the future evolution of the crisis in Ukraine, both factors or rather variables and actors would […]
This post is the second of a series that deals with the core of the foresight and warning analytical process. The first post explained the mapping process and how to move from factors to variables. Here we focus on the second challenge analysts and participants to workshops face: how to include actors relevant to the question as objectively as possible. The process we use to map an issue or a foresight and warning question seems simple enough, especially once one understands what is a variable and how to specify it, as we saw and explained in detail previously. However, when done, notably within a workshop setting, when different participants brainstorm to map as well and as quickly as possible variables […]
This series of posts deals with the core and basis of the foresight and warning analytical process, explaining it while stressing three most common challenges analysts and participants to workshops face: identifying factors correctly (this post); specifying actors objectively (2-); overcoming an inadequate mix of “actors and factors” (3-). Practical ways forward will be suggested. The example that will be used as case study throughout those three posts is the 2013-2014 crisis in Ukraine, with, as corresponding strategic foresight and warning (SF&W) question, “What are the possible futures for the Ukrainian crisis over the next two years?” Compared with our previous methodological series, these posts may seem to address more basic problems. However, as workshop after workshop, participants, be they […]