uncertainty

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?

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

We shall now discuss the organization, indicators, and likelihood of the various partition scenarios, after having detailed the indicators and determined the likelihood for intervention in the last article. Note: In the following article, we shall use the acronym COR for the Council of Representatives (nationalists), GNC for the General National Congress (Islamists), and GNA for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (unity government). Organizing the Scenarios and Indicators Considering that external actors are already intervening in Libya, as we saw previously, as well as the fact that surrounding countries are experiencing migrant, smuggling, and jihadist spillover from Libya’s civil war, we organized the parent scenarios to account for these certainties. The next branch of scenarios—which have not occurred yet—are … Continue reading Evaluating Likelihoods for Libya – Scenario 2 Partition

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

In this article and the next, we shall evaluate the likelihood of the primary scenarios for foreign military intervention, which we started to detail in “Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenario 2: The Joint Arab Force Takes a Side (1).” We shall focus on preliminary methodological work allowing for better describing the intervention cases for likelihood estimates. In the last article we discussed the likelihood of Scenario 1, where the Libyan actors negotiate a peace settlement—a scenario for which the probability we assessed was less than 20%, or highly unlikely. As detailed previously, we shall use the methodology developed by The Red (Team) Analysis Society, building upon Heuer (“Assessing Probability of a Scenario”, in Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, … Continue reading Evaluating Likelihoods for Libya – Scenario 2 Methodology

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

This article is the second of a two-parts of a series seeking to identify the impacts of the current and most probably forthcoming terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, and focuses on major socio-psychological consequences. It follows a first article, which started outlining a framework for impact assessment out of our current understanding of the economic consequences of terrorism, which notably pointed out the need to use mapping as methodology if the complex and cascading characters of these impacts are to be properly assessed. The larger aim of the series is notably to understand if businesses should or not neglect these aggressions and related geopolitical uncertainties, while finding out ways to foresee these risks so as to best design answers (see Helene Lavoix, “Businesses and Geopolitics: Caught up in the Whirlwinds? (1)”, The Red (Team) Analysis Society, 17 Oct 2016)

To find out which could be the psychological impacts of the ongoing string of terrorist attacks, we

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…
Each section focuses on signals related to a specific theme: world (international politics and geopolitics); economy; science; analysis, strategy and futures; technology and weapons; energy and environment. However, in a complex world, categories are merely a convenient way to present information, when facts and events interact across boundaries. … Continue reading The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 22 December 2016

In our previous article, we detailed a partition scenario where Libya splits into independent states along tribal and provincial lines, as well as a north-south axis, and in the one before, we focused on various possible spill over. This article focuses on a combination of the two cases, partition and spill over scenarios. In the first scenario, the Amazigh, Tuareg, and Toubou tribes outright declare independence and break away from the Libyan state, which leads to significant spill over in Algeria, Niger, and Chad. In the second scenario, Libya is partitioned along provincial lines, which leads to spill over in all directions. In the last scenario, Libya splits apart along a north-south axis located through Sirte, and bordering countries experience … Continue reading Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2.4 Partition and Spill Over

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

In our previous article, we detailed a spillover scenario where conflict spills over in all directions, including Europe, Algeria, Niger, and Egypt. This article is focusing on possible scenarios depicting Libya’s partition that could stem from the Libyan war. In the first scenario, the Amazigh, Tuareg, and Toubou tribes move from ideas of autonomy to outright declaring independence and breaking away from the Libyan state as a result of marginalization and lack of security. In the second scenario, Libyans begin declaring independence and breaking away from the rest of Libya along provincial lines. In the last scenario, Libya splits apart along a north-south axis located through or close to Sirte – essentially East Libya and West Libya – with the … Continue reading Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2.3 Libya’s Partition

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

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.

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

This post will present the experiment – assessing a sample of open source predictions for the year 2012 – address the methodological problems encountered while creating the evaluation itself, and underline the lessons learned. The second part (forthcoming) will discuss results.

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.

This second article on The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb emphasises some of the author’s points that could be useful to foresight and warning and all work dealing with anticipation, from risk management to horizon scanning through early warning. Many of those themes are actually allowed by the SF&W methodology, and are crucial to obtain a good analysis. The first article on The Black Swan can be accessed here. Humility (Notably pp.190-200) Considering uncertainty, but also our imperfect condition of human beings, the complexity of the social world, feedbacks, our more than insufficient knowledge and understanding, we must be very humble, accept our partial ignorance, our imperfection and mistakes (and make sure those essentially … Continue reading Useful Rules for Foresight from Taleb’s The Black Swan

To access this article, you must become one of our members.
Methodological articles are also accessible through registration to our online course.

Log in if you are a member.