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Facing the Fog of War in Syria: Updates

As underlined when we started the series on Syria, one of the analytical challenges we face, in terms of strategic foresight and warning, is the fog of war. The, at time, rapid evolution of the situation, fits badly with any static mean to deliver analysis. We need, of course, to monitor what is happening, but also to regularly integrate this surveillance in our strategic analysis and finally to make it known to concerned audience (readers, decision-makers, policy-makers). After having outlined the methodological difficulties and presented the solution chosen, we shall focus on the updates themselves. Methodology: challenges and imperfect solutions First, in terms of periodicity and content of publication (delivery in SF&W jargon), a right balance must be found between… Read More

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The Power of Maps

Maps are both necessary tools for analysis and crucial delivery visuals for foresight and warning products. They constitute a very powerful type of delivery form, as they change both the world and the mind. The pivotal importance of maps and of the process of mapping has notably been shown, in the case of the birth of nations and of nationalism, by two remarkable books: Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson and Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation by Winichakul Thongchai. Building upon the findings of those master-works, as well as on my own (PhD) research, this post explains the power of maps and then outlines contemporary evolutions, examples and possibilities. Why are maps special instruments of power?… Read More

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Water Security Maps

You will find below a selection of maps related to global water security, which are useful for both analysis and delivery of products. Maps are both necessary tools for analysis and crucial delivery visuals for our foresight and warning products. They constitute a category of delivery form, which can, furthermore, be combined with other categories to suit at best our needs. The maps under copyrights that do not allow fair free use (C.C.) are filed at the bottom of the post. National Intelligence Council (US), ODNI – 2012: Global Water Security Map Map attached to the 2012 Global Water Security, an Intelligence Community Assessment Aquastat (FAO) maps AQUASTAT is FAO’s global information system on water and agriculture, developed by the Land… Read More

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Pearltrees: a multifunction visual bibliographic tool

While preparing the bibliography on energy security foresight, I was wondering if it would be useful to also apply a visually appealing approach to bibliographies, which would then be conceptualized as a product. As usual, there is no simple answer to this question, and if the classical bibliography will most probably have to be kept for a while, Pearltrees also appears as a perfect bibliographic tool. Inevitable classical bibliography Because delivery of product must consider both the product’s material support and the recipient or customer, then the traditional way to write a bibliography will probably have to be kept for some time. Indeed, for anything that uses paper and print as support, the usual, alphabetical bibliography is best. It is… Read More

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2013 – 2018 EVT – Tragic events

Tragic events strike Everstate. We witness tornadoes and drought, war in the Middle East and even a major industrial accident, while a new episode of financial crisis starts. These are instances of the various conditions presiding to Everstate’s destiny, considering what has been done, or not, globally, regionally and within Everstate.

The same set of events should be used to stress test each scenario. The logic of the scenario will however comes first, assuming it impacts the plausibility of the event. In that case, ….

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Images to illustrate Complexity Science & Strategic Foresight and Warning

Images related to complexity science I found useful in putting together a presentation dealing with Strategic Foresight and Warning and Complexity

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Featured Images, Symbols & Foresight Product: the Example of The Chronicles of Everstate

(updated 17 April 2012) When an image is featured and is meant to represent the totality of a foresight or anticipatory product, or a large section of it, it must capture the gist of the product. Symbols and symbolism are then crucial to transmit messages. This importance of symbols should anyway be considered for any use of image (as well as when developing a scenario narrative, for example when choosing names). This will be exemplified here with the Chronicles of Everstate. The image aims at capturing symbolically the features of the contemporary (early 21st century) modern nation-state: It, of course, is an heir to Hobbes Leviathan. However, compared with the original image, the head of the sovereign is not displayed… Read More

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Visual Tools and Design for Foresight Products

Delivery to clients of strategic foresight and warning (SF&W) or futures related products is, as we saw, a crucial part of the overall SF&W process. Without delivery, there is neither warning nor foresight, however accurate and brilliant the underlying analyses. As crucial, although very difficult to achieve, is the fact that clients or customers must pay heed to the foresight product or to the warning. Initially, according to the intelligence literature, notably on surprise, or to exchanges with practitioners, this part of the process is seen as so difficult indeed that it is not considered as being the responsibility of the foresight and warning – or risk – analyst, officer or of the scientist if we include science in SF&W, given the predictive… Read More

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An Experiment with Infomous Clouds

An Experiment with Infomous Clouds In the framework of our experiments with new tools for both horizon scanning and delivery to clients, started with Paper.li that led to the creation of the Weekly, here is a cool way to use clouds with Infomous (used, for example, by The Economist). The Red (team) Analysis cloud:   Twitter (@HLavoix) cloud:

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Delivery of Strategic Foresight and Warning products: learning from the social and mobile web?

As Cynthia Grabo underlines, a warning does not exist if it is not delivered. Similarly, a foresight product – or risk assessment or horizon scan – has to be delivered. Furthermore, if foresight and warning are to be actionable, then clients or customers – those to whom the product has been delivered – must pay heed to the foresight, or warning. What they decide to do with those is another story. Yet, from the point of view of SF&W, they must receive them, know they have received them and, as much as possible, consider them.

by Philip Devere, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons

Strategic foresight and futures’ efforts, as well as related literature, with a few exceptions, have rarely focused explicitly on this specific part of the overall process. Yet, it is crucial. As a first step, it has much to learn from the warning part of the activity. Then, both strategic foresight and warning may also have much to learn from the mobile and social networking approach, as it is being …

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