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What is an Issue in terms of Strategic Foresight & Warning and Horizon Scanning?

An issue, in terms of warning and by extension SF&W, is “a situation, an objective, an opportunity, a danger, a threat or a risk, which is specific and defined.” (Grabo, 2004) For example, SF&W issues can be interstate and civil wars, fragile states, instability, energy security, oil, economic crisis, global water security, epidemics and pandemics such …

Why the COVID-19 is NOT a Black Swan Event

As the COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, its cascading and multiple impacts deepen. As a result, fear spreads. Meanwhile, finance and business firms now started promoting the idea that the COVID-19 epidemic was a “black swan event”. For example, Goldman Sachs, in its Top of Mind, issue 86 (February 28, 2020) featured an article titled …

What is Political Risk?

Political risk is an idea many actors very often use. But what does political risk mean? What does political risk address? With the video below, we explain what is political risk. Meanwhile, we experiment with a new medium. We also test an approach through brief explanations of fundamental concepts and ideas. Let us know what …

Expressing and Understanding Estimative Language

When dealing with the future, we use a language that includes specific notions such as the expression of probability and of impacts. In terms of probability, for example, we use words such as “likely” and for impacts terms such as “severe”. Furthermore, to be truly complete, we should add a confidence judgement. As explained by …

When Risk Management Meets Strategic Foresight and Warning

Risk management is codified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is aimed at any organisation concerned with risk, be it public or private (Sandrine Tranchard, “The new ISO 31000 keeps risk management simple“, ISO News, 15 Feb 2018). Its forebear is actuarial science, i.e. methodologies to assess risk in insurance and finance (e.g. …

Time in Strategic Foresight and Risk Management

From the corporate world to governments, we seek to escape uncertainty and surprises. This is crucial to survive and thrive. It is also necessary for the protection from threats, dangers and risks. As a whole and generally, our abilities – if not willingness – to identify threats has improved with experience and practice. Notably, we became relatively efficient in …

Strategic Foresight & Warning Analysis

Strategic Foresight and Warning (SF&W) is at once process and analysis. By SF&W analysis we mean all methodologies and related issues allowing for the development of an understanding grounded in reality that will generate best anticipatory products, useful to decision-makers and policy-makers for carrying out their mission (to find your way within the myriad of labels …

Visualising the Steps to Foresee the Future and Get Ready for It

Strategic foresight and warning or more broadly anticipation is a step by step process to anticipate the future in an actionable way. The graphic ideal type process displayed below is the result of more than a decade of work with and about systems of anticipation, from early warning systems to prevent conflicts for aid agencies to …

Intelligence, Strategic Foresight and Warning, Risk Management, Forecasting or Futurism?

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.

Multiplicating Crises: Strategic Surprises or Strategic Shocks?

Over the last two decades, strategic surprises have accumulated and accelerated rather than receded, and they continue to do so. Various actors, from governments and international organisations to the corporate world through citizens seem to be constantly and increasingly surprised by events they fail to anticipate, and thus for which they are unprepared. The Arab Spring (e.g. …

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