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? […]

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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 […]

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Navigating the Chronicles of Everstate

The featured image for this post is a snapshot of a map done with Pearltrees. This page is about presenting ways to follow and access the series of posts constituting The Chronicles of Everstate, beyond the usual linear menus or the detailed outline in the website footer. This idea, mapping the very posts of The Chronicles of Everstate, is a direct result of the interactive quality of this foresight experiment. One faithful reader, indeed, underlined that, as the number of posts increased, reading and understanding was becoming more complex, notably for newcomers. He suggested that a map would be very helpful to allow users and readers to navigate among posts. We then discussed various ways to implement this idea. Here are […]

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Revisiting influence analysis

Once variables (also called factors and drivers according to authors) have been identified – and in our case mapped, most foresight methodologies aim at reducing their number, i.e. keeping only a few of those variables.

Indeed, considering cognitive limitations, as well as finite resources, one tries obtaining a number of variables that can be easily and relatively quickly combined by the human brain.

The problem we here face methodologically is how to reduce this number of variables at best, making sure we do not reintroduce biases or/and simplify our model so much it becomes useless or suboptimal.

Furthermore, considering also the potential adverse reactions of practitioners to complex models, being able to present a properly simplified or reduced model (however remaining faithful to the initial one) is most often necessary.

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Modeling for Dynamic Risks and Uncertainties (2) : Mapping a Dynamic Network

Go back to Part 1

Actually, any SF&W model as it primarily deals with time should be a dynamic network. How can we expect obtaining any potential outline for the future if our model for understanding is static?

Our map thus aims at representing the potential dynamics of polities. We shall notably use Ertman’s work on past state-building, but making it adaptable to present and future conditions.

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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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