This article defines and briefly explains the various names and labels given to activities and practices anticipating or foreseeing the future. Indeed, from risk management to Strategic Foresight and Warning (SF&W) the field of anticipation includes many perspectives and practices centred on different themes. Meanwhile, various actors use different names for SF&W, or very similar approaches. It is thus important to clarify what various labels and names mean, even if borders between categories are often fuzzy.
“Interstellar”, the 2014 global blockbuster movie by Christopher Nolan is a feat of intellectual and strategic thinking. The movie follows the adventures of three astronauts whose mission is to find a viable planet for humankind, while people on Earth are struggling with the rapid decay of the biosphere and the increasingly dangerous effects of climate change. In fact, this movie addresses the political and existential issues of what is to become of humanity once the climate change crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the energy and minerals crises will have been firmly and clearly interlocked for two dozens years from now. This nexus of “socio-bio-vital crises” is very smartly used by Christopher Nolan to elaborate a vehicle for a new kind of […]
Editorial – Risks on the US Dollar Supremacy? Among the flurry of articles part of the violent “battle for hearts and minds” regarding Ukraine and opposing directly Russia on the one hand, the U.S and Europe on the other, continues emerging, quite loudly this week, an interrogation regarding the international order, this time in its monetary guise. Put bluntly, the question is as follows: “Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the US dollar based international monetary order?” The question is related to oil because of the importance of petrodollars. We may thus wonder if a potential U.S. strategy, assuming it could work (read Steve LeVine article “How the US might persuade the Saudis to co-conspire in unleashing an oil […]
This article is the third of a series looking for a methodology that would fulfill the challenging criteria demanded by our time. We shall now focus on scenarios, which are a way to simulate how the actors we defined and described during the previous step interact, not only among themselves but also with their environment, up until the end of the chosen timeframe. Using the precedent post’s game of chess analogy, with scenarios we imagine the various ways the game may “end”. Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1)Methodology to Analyse Future Security Threats (2): a Game of ChessHow to Analyse Future Security Threats (3): Scenarios as an Organic Living SystemHow to Analyse Future Security Threats (4): Scenarios […]
This article is the second of a series looking for a methodology that would fulfill the challenging criteria demanded by our time. Previously, we saw that a single “story” initially told at a general level, the political dynamics that are at the core of a polity, could be used to build the very specific model needed to answer a strategic foresight and warning (national security) question or a political risk interrogation. Very practically, how shall we do that? How are generic dynamics going to help us with our task? How can we proceed? This is what we shall see now. Related Towards an Operational Methodology to Analyze Future Security Threats and Political Risk (1) Methodology to Analyze Future Security Threats (2): a […]
In this day and age of speed, not to say haste, unequally shared resources and wish to relatively easily obtain answers to complex questions, we are faced in strategic foresight and warning analysis (or political risk analysis) with a very serious challenge. We must choose a methodology that: allows for a “good enough” analysis (Fein, 1994), […]
This second update covers the evolution in Syria from July to October 2013. It focuses first on dynamics of change involving the interplay between the Syrian Islamist factions on the ground and international players – especially the declaration of an “Islamic framework” and then the creation of the Islam Army, with impact on the overall situation, and provides an updated mapping for Syrian Islamist groups. It then looks at evolutions related to the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. Syrian Sunni factions intending to install an Islamist state in Syria (For background and past state of play, see here) It is within those groups that we have been witnessing throughout September-October 2013 the most potent changes. As always, and as Lund […]
“Businesses run the world, they are better managed, more efficient at all levels, promote innovation and discoveries, and deliver better services and products than any other organization, notably governments and states’ administrations.” This is a hardly caricatured representation of the worldview we have increasingly known since at least the middle of the 1980s, that bloomed […]
Horizon Scanning for National Security No90: Some Light within Darkness – For a change, let us focus on the positive (within the multiple remaining and rising challenges): climate change and environmental factors emerge this week as being increasingly integrated within our understanding of the complex dynamics at work in conflicts and more broadly threats or dangers to national security. Is the painting depicted scarier? Certainly, but understanding is also a crucial step towards solving properly problems… hopefully.