Practically applying the idea of “strategic surprise” when anticipating new threats is difficult as soon as one moves away from the general idea, and tries to be more specific about the strategic impact a surprise could have. The surprise part of the concept is relatively easily understood and envisioned. When imagining a threat or danger occurring, we don’t have any problem identifying and explaining the many reasons why this event could happen unexpectedly and find us unprepared. Assessing, estimating and understanding these incriminated causes, then remedying them, is more complex, indeed the raison d’être of strategic foresight and warning and risk management, and the topic of many studies. The strategic dimension, for its part, is more elusive and far less […]
No69 – 11 October 2012 Potential stabilisation in the East China Sea, with a move from Japan, still uncertain improvement considering Japanese domestic tensions. Meanwhile the situation in the Middle East and in Europe deteriorates. Most notably, the participation of reservists to the demonstrations yesterday in Greece could be a weak signal of potential escalation. […]
No34, 9th February 2012 Not if but when? It looks like the small window of opportunity that was trying hard to open regarding Iran is closing, while weak signals are a warning of a revival of the global crisis throughout all countries, with China still cast as potential winner. Click on the picture below to access […]
No33, 2nd February 2012 Convergence? As an opportunity to see tension appeased with Iran, although not shared by all, appears, as beliefs in financial and economic recovery emerge, convergence of heavy threats could also take place in the background, with now a heavy cyber-security component in terms of ways and means. Click on the picture below […]
No27, 22d December 2011 Weak signals of polarisation are emerging regarding the interactions between the new opposition nexus and political authorities, and prospects for further and more widespread instability rise, notably in India – no need to mention Europe anymore. In the meantime, international tension does not abate with Iran, and now a transition going […]
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.
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 …