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Horizon Scanning and Monitoring for Warning: Definition and Practice

(Rewritten and revised edition) Horizon scanning and monitoring for warning are part of the family of activities used to foresee the future, anticipate uncertainty and manage risks. Their practice is crucial for successful strategic foresight and warning, risk management, futurism or any anticipatory activity. While monitoring is a generic and common term used for many… Read More

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 17 January 2018

Each week, our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals, which point to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems. As a result, they indicate how trends or dynamics evolve. Here, we focus on signals that could favourably or unfavourably impact private and public actors in international security. That field is broadly known under various… Read More

Lessons from and for the Brexit – Geopolitics, Uncertainties, and Business (2)

On 24 June 2016 morning, the U.K. announced the results of the referendum on the Brexit: 51.9% of the population voted to leave the EU against 48.1% wanting to remain, while the turnout reached 72,2% (BBC Referendum Results). This vote triggered among the media, financial and European political elite a “shock”, consternation, and a host of predictions of impending doom, while markets plunged worldwide (BBC News, “Brexit: What the world’s papers say“, 24 June 2016). It also set off a series of events and dynamics still unfolding nowadays with far-ranging consequences, globally, for the future. We shall use this real life case to further enhance our understanding of the way businesses and the corporate world relate to and especially anticipate or… Read More

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Climate Change, a Pause or an Aposiopesis?

On 4 June 2015, Science magazine published “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus,” which addressed what some see as an apparent pause in the upward trend of global surface temperatures since 1998. In the paper, Thomas R. Karl and others presented updated global surface temperature analysis, which they think reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC and does not support the notion of a “slowdown” or a pause in the increase of global surface temperature. For those who firmly believe there is a pause or even a downward trend, that paper released the Kraken. Whatts Up With That?, a website dedicated to climate change skepticism, called the new paper “laughable”.  Dr… Read More

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 149 – War and Weak Signals

Editorial – War and Weak Signals – While progressing through the raw mass of information of The Weekly and editing it, initially, it seemed obvious the editorial should focus on Obama’s visit to Asia, the TPP and especially on the U.S. President’s assertion in the Yomiuri Shimbun regarding the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: “The policy of the United States is clear — the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands” (through Stars & Stripes). The accommodating Chinese News reactions to this American statement, as a willingness to keep the U.S. outside the dispute, are… Read More

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Evaluating Scenarios and Indicators for the Syrian War

Every year, The Economist, in its “The World in…” series, assesses it successes and failures regarding its past yearly forecasts (e.g. for 2012). This is an exemplary behaviour that should be adopted by all practitioners: if we are to deliver good and actionable strategic foresight and warning, and to improve our process, methodology and thus our final products, then we should always evaluate our work. Having now completed our last series of updates on the state of play for the Syrian war, we can now start assessing how our own scenarios and indicators fared so far, if they need to be updated and the potential methodological improvements that we should endeavour. Evaluating the scenarios As the Geneva conference took place (see previous… Read More

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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 Shale Oil and Gas Security Sigils

Shale fuels, a potential game changer, remain controversial, notably considering the various environmental risks, the social opposition and distrust, the uncertainty regarding recoverable reserves, the evolution of technology and regulations, and the opposite interests of different actors. It is thus crucial to scan and monitor…

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Twylah: another tool to add to your scanning and monitoring arsenal

If you are using Twitter as one of your favourite social network for scanning and monitoring, then it is worth the while adding Twylah to the array of webtools you can use. On a beautifully designed webpage, it will display the trending keywords related to your tweets, automatically identified, as well as your tweets sorted according to those categories. You can also, of course, have a look at what your favourite political leaders, media and sources see as crucial by consulting their Twylah pages. At a glance you can thus: See which signals you are following most, those that constitute themes, issues and start becoming or continue being problems. You can even discover that you are monitoring issues you had… Read More

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