analysis

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 my investment portfolio within the next 18 months to 3 years, or what will be the future of the emerging artificial intelligence world over the next twenty years, or what are the risks and uncertainties to my activity within the next fiver years as a result of China’s rise.

Once this initial question is defined, the second stage is about constructing our underlying model for understanding, i.e. mapping our risk or issue.

As Professor Joshua Epstein underlines, constructing a model – i.e. modeling – is nothing more, actually, than making explicit the hidden, implicit, model we, as human beings, are using when thinking. Epstein lists 16 advantages that result from this explicit modeling, to which we can add a couple more. Among these, we can notably highlight that, in terms of intelligence and anticipation analysis, making the model explicit will help identifying various cognitive, normative and emotional biases, thus allowing for their mitigation. Thanks to this modeling we can think out of the box and overcome silos. Then, the model and its construction will help defining areas of uncertain understanding, which can then be marked for further study, inquiry and research. Meanwhile, an explicit model will also help us working collaboratively, while communication will be greatly eased and enhanced, notably by using tools developed for big data analytics.

How are we thus to transform our inner implicit and imperfect model about the risk and uncertainty of concern into a proper and efficient explicit model to assess correctly risks and uncertainties, design critical responses and communicate about both risks and the decisions taken to manage them?

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[Fully rewritten version v3] To exist, risk and foresight products as well as warnings must be delivered to those who must act upon them, the customers, clients or users. These anticipation analyses must also be actionable, which means that they need to include the right information necessary to see action taken. … Continue reading Revisiting Timeliness for Strategic Foresight and Warning and Risk Management

Since the Islamic State declared a Khilafah on 29 June 2014, it carried out, worldwide, 6 attacks or series of attacks in 2014, which killed 2 and wounded 12 people, 23 in 2015, which killed 1020 and wounded more than 2171, 36 in 2016, which killed more than 1455 and wounded more than 3505 and so far 3 in 2017, which killed more than 109 and wounded more than 169 people, assuming all attacks are known and referenced as such (Wikipedia “List of terrorist incidents linked to ISIL“). As a whole, we thus faced 68 attacks, during which more than 2586 people lost their lives and more than 5857 were injured. Prospects for the near future look no less grim as reminded … Continue reading The Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks – Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (5)

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With this article and the next one, we shall use the instability and conflict in Ukraine and the related impacts on businesses to continue enhancing our understanding of the way businesses and the corporate world could usefully anticipate or foresee geopolitical and political risks and uncertainties. Here we shall review two major impacts of the war in Ukraine. First we shall look at the surprising cost of sanctions related to Ukraine on businesses of sanctioning countries. Second, we shall move to the multiple impacts of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. With the forthcoming second part, wondering how a firm could have avoided or to the least mitigated  these impacts, we shall use what we learned to identify main lessons to improve strategic foresight and … Continue reading Impacts of the Conflict in Ukraine – Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (3)

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

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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

At the latest 2 June 2016 OPEC summit, Saudi Arabia and Iran failed to reach an agreement on oil production level (e.g. Terry Macalister, The Guardian, 2 June 2016). Different needs as well as tensions between the two countries are at stake. Yet, a few analysts have also underscored a slight improvement in the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran (Liam Halligan,  “Opec is very much alive as Saudis learn to tread softly“, 4 June 2016).  What should we thus expect? Should we trust that a warming of the relationships is indeed underway, or should we expect a potential stiffening of positions considering the current offensive led by Shia governments in Syria and Iraq (e.g. Alex MacDonald, “Sunni fighters say militias, not army, should liberate Fallujah … Continue reading Tempobs – Balance of Power Formation for Iran and Saudi Arabia

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Early 2016 has witnessed a succession of dramatic developments that have inflamed the already contentious Iran-Saudi relationship, bringing it to the forefront of global governmental and media attention. These have included: Riyadh’s decision to break diplomatic relations with Tehran at the beginning of the year, the accelerated decline of the price of oil deeply affecting both countries’ economies, the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal leading to Iran’s reinsertion into the global economic system, and a reversal of fortune in the Syrian civil war with Iranian and Russian-supported regime forces scoring major advances against the Saudi-backed opposition. We shall survey these developments (deferring, however, discussion of the fast changing situation in Syria to a later post) with the aim of … Continue reading Tempobs – Things Come Together: Saudi Arabia and Iran

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This post is the fourth of our temporal observatory project (Tempobs) and related series focused on the future of the relationships between Saudi Arabia and Iran and aiming at improving the handling of time-related issues in strategic foresight and warning, risk, or more broadly anticipatory analysis. It answers and builds upon Dr Warren Fishbein’s (hereinafter Warren) previous article (Mindfully Mapping a Middle Eastern Morass – Saudi Arabia and Iran), as we designed the series as a dialogue where we progressively build the understanding related to the foresight issue by mapping the corresponding conceptual network, continuously scan the relevant literature and news, which will allow us, finally, to assess the future, to use Warren’s apt presentation of the work involved. Here we shall present the new tool (best on desktops … Continue reading Tempobs – Mapping an Interactive Network for Iran and Saudi Arabia Relations

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To summarize Helene’s introductory post, this project aims to develop a time-sensitive approach to strategic anticipation and warning, using the evolving relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia as its substantive framework. But how does one undertake strategic anticipation within the context of the complex, chaotic, fast changing politics of the contemporary Middle East? Just over the past few months, we have witnessed an extraordinary series of surprises in or strongly affecting the region, such as the plummeting price of oil, the Saudi intervention in Yemen, the deployment of Russian forces in Syria, and, most recently, the emergence of fears of widespread sectarian warfare. Referring to the last development, but offering a judgment of more general applicability, the Middle East politics … Continue reading Tempobs – Mindfully Mapping a Middle Eastern Morass – Saudi Arabia and Iran

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