Nuts & Bolts

Our Foresights and Insights

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.

The first part of this article can be accessed as open access (rules of attribution nonetheless apply), the second part is exclusively for members and registered participants to our courses.
The incredible and growing amount of information available nowadays presents us with specific challenges we need to overcome first, if we want to be able to understand, … Continue reading How to Read a Large Amount of Information

Editorial – Information Wars – Information or more broadly belief-based wars seem to multiply right now, relayed by many official declarations, articles and analyses, although fortunately not all.  This is a worrying phenomenon because it leads to direct polarization (enhancing feelings of threat, fear, “all because of an evil other that must be fought”) and to inaccurate analyses, which in turn also fuel polarization. Information wars: propaganda, biases and conspiracy theories We can see this phenomenon at work regarding Ukraine, Iraq, or, in a lesser way because the spotlight is not right now directed at this issue, China and the various disputes in the East and South China Seas. In Iraq, the way the al-Maliki government accuses Saudi Arabia to support ISIS, when actually a more … Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 157 – Information Wars

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Risk management, codified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), allows since 2009 for an almost perfect correspondence with the ideal-type process of strategic foresight and warning (SF&W), as we use here, even though SF&W was developed mainly out of public service – notably intelligence and defense – practice and experience, and with international and national security issues in mind. The new risk management process thus lays the foundation for easily incorporating geopolitical and other national and international security issues within risks usually managed by businesses, and should facilitate discussions and exchanges between the corporate world and the public sector, including in terms of data, information, and analysis, according to the specificities and strength of each. We shall here detail the risk management process, underlines its similarities with SF&W … Continue reading When Risk Management Meets Strategic Foresight and Warning

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This second article on The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb emphasises some of the author’s points that could be useful to foresight and warning and all work dealing with anticipation, from risk management to horizon scanning through early warning. Many of those themes are actually allowed by the SF&W methodology, and are crucial to obtain a good analysis. The first article on The Black Swan can be accessed here. Humility (Notably pp.190-200) Considering uncertainty, but also our imperfect condition of human beings, the complexity of the social world, feedbacks, our more than insufficient knowledge and understanding, we must be very humble, accept our partial ignorance, our imperfection and mistakes (and make sure those essentially … Continue reading Useful Rules for Foresight from Taleb’s The Black Swan

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Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

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