As the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia has recently risen to new heights (e.g. Paul Iddon, “Was Saudi Arabia’s execution of Sheikh Nimr calculated or reckless?“, Rudaw, 8 Jan 2016; Jon Schwarz, “One Map That Explains the Dangerous Saudi-Iranian Conflict“, The Intercept, 6 Jan 2016), and has regional if not global repercussions, the focus question of our project, i.e. “Within which timeframe could we see full cooperation or, on the contrary, war occur between Saudi Arabia and Iran?” is even more relevant. Warren, with the previous article, started addressing the “stances” of Iran and Saudi Arabia towards each other. Here we shall continue mapping out the two possible future outcomes and the two countries’ relations, i.e. war at one end of the spectrum and cooperation at the … Continue reading Tempobs – Iran, Saudi Arabia and the “Shadow of the Future”
Considering the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria, and, notably, the increased risk to see it perceived as fanning an already difficult situation in terms of sectarian, Shi’a versus Sunni, tension (Helene Lavoix, “Russia at War with the Islamic State in Syria – Perceptions of Strikes“, RTAS, 12 Oct 2015), understanding and foreseeing the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia has become crucially important. Indeed, it could very well be that, fundamentally, without appeasing completely this sectarian tension it will be impossible to end the war spreading in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. It is within this framework that is now located our new project to enhance strategic foresight and warning, risk, or more broadly anticipatory analysis’ handling of time-related issues. As explained previously, we … Continue reading Tempobs – Saudi Arabia and Iran, towards War or Cooperation?
How can we protect ourselves from risks is one of the key questions that so many actors, from citizens and the corporate world to governments are asking themselves and trying to answer. It is the main question with which the World Economic Forum (Davos) opens its video launching the Global Risk Report 2015. As a whole and generally, our abilities – if not willingness – to identify threats, and the assessment of their likelihood and impact improve. Nonetheless, one component of threat and risk assessment remains unconsidered, unnoticed, and neglected: time. Time, the crucial orphan dimension In the collective imaginary, space – as well as the search for specific individuals – attracts much more attention than time. How many films, of anticipation or not, depict … Continue reading Enhancing Strategic Foresight and Risk Management with the Temporal Dimension
The evaluation of our 2012 predictions’ sample underlines notably a widespread conventional view of national security, novel issues being ignored; a relative inability to assess timing whilst our understanding of issues fares relatively well; the existence of major biases, notably regarding China, Russia, and the U.S; the difficulty of prediction for novel issues and old issues in new context.
The Economist shows the lead in a courageous yet hardly ever done exercise: going back to our own foresight and assess, in the light of the present, what was right and what was wrong. It provides us with an example of how such lessons learned could be endeavoured, underlines questions that should be asked and key challenges for anticipation, and exemplifies how biases can derail foresight.
Last week, as I was looking for good websites and twitter users to follow the students’ movement in Quebec, its support by and links to the other worldwide opposition movements, and to try to assess how it could evolve, I found this really useful, informative and beautiful website displaying a timeline of the events done by Xavier K. Richard, @xkr. Today, I found that this timeline, or rather the incredible tool to make such a timeline, TimelineJS, created by VéritéCo, is a free web-based application. I could not resist the temptation to try it, continuing on the series of timelines created for “the Tragic Events that strike Everstate.” It is truly very easy to use (just use the Google spreadsheet … Continue reading A Beautiful Timeline Visualisation: TimelineJS by VéritéCo
As underlined in Everstate’s characteristics, time in strategic foresight and warning is a crucial problem that still needs much effort and research before we obtain proper and actionable timelines – and this without even considering timeliness. For the Chronicles of Everstate, I have been struggling with the best way to present time in our very imperfect knowledge and understanding context. One of the solutions was to locate the Chronicles in a very distant time, which is what I suggested in Everstate’s characteristics. However, considering the unconscious or conscious mental associations that will be made by readers for years so far away as 5230, this was unsatisfactory. To use a less precise timeline such as the Near Future and the Far … Continue reading Creating Evertime
Map, graph or network as model
Once an initial question is defined – for example, what will be the future of the modern nation-state for the next twenty years – most methodologies start with building a strategic foresight and warning model, which will describe and explain the issue or question at hand. In other words, we construct our underlying model for understanding. … Continue reading Creating a Foresight and Warning Model: Mapping a Dynamic Network (I)