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Evaluating Scenarios and Indicators for the Syrian War

Every year, The Economist, in its “The World in…” series, assesses it successes and failures regarding its past yearly forecasts (e.g. for 2012). This is an exemplary behaviour that should be adopted by all practitioners: if we are to deliver good and actionable strategic foresight and warning, and to improve our process, methodology and thus our final products, then we should always evaluate our work. Having now completed our last series of updates on the state of play for the Syrian war, we can now start assessing how our own scenarios and indicators fared so far, if they need to be updated and the potential methodological improvements that we should endeavour. Evaluating the scenarios As the Geneva conference took place (see previous …

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Facing the Fog of War in Syria: Updates

As underlined when we started the series on Syria, one of the analytical challenges we face, in terms of strategic foresight and warning, is the fog of war. The, at time, rapid evolution of the situation, fits badly with any static mean to deliver analysis. We need, of course, to monitor what is happening, but also to regularly integrate this surveillance in our strategic analysis and finally to make it known to concerned audience (readers, decision-makers, policy-makers). After having outlined the methodological difficulties and presented the solution chosen, we shall focus on the updates themselves. Methodology: challenges and imperfect solutions First, in terms of periodicity and content of publication (delivery in SF&W jargon), a right balance must be found between …

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The Shale Oil and Gas Security Sigils

Shale fuels, a potential game changer, remain controversial, notably considering the various environmental risks, the social opposition and distrust, the uncertainty regarding recoverable reserves, the evolution of technology and regulations, and the opposite interests of different actors. It is thus crucial to scan and monitor…

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Twylah: another tool to add to your scanning and monitoring arsenal

If you are using Twitter as one of your favourite social network for scanning and monitoring, then it is worth the while adding Twylah to the array of webtools you can use. On a beautifully designed webpage, it will display the trending keywords related to your tweets, automatically identified, as well as your tweets sorted according to those categories. You can also, of course, have a look at what your favourite political leaders, media and sources see as crucial by consulting their Twylah pages. At a glance you can thus: See which signals you are following most, those that constitute themes, issues and start becoming or continue being problems. You can even discover that you are monitoring issues you had …

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The Sigils

The Sigils (see list below) are a series of daily papers that scan the horizon for weak (and less weak) signals related to various issues relevant to geopolitical risks and uncertainties, and of interest to citizens, the corporate sector, NGOs and domestic and international political authorities. They are provided to you complimentarily by the Red (Team) …

Pearltrees: a multifunction visual bibliographic tool

While preparing the bibliography on energy security foresight, I was wondering if it would be useful to also apply a visually appealing approach to bibliographies, which would then be conceptualized as a product. As usual, there is no simple answer to this question, and if the classical bibliography will most probably have to be kept for a while, Pearltrees also appears as a perfect bibliographic tool. Inevitable classical bibliography Because delivery of product must consider both the product’s material support and the recipient or customer, then the traditional way to write a bibliography will probably have to be kept for some time. Indeed, for anything that uses paper and print as support, the usual, alphabetical bibliography is best. It is …

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly: An experiment in crowd-sourcing for horizon scanning

This is an experiment with paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter but also Facebook mainly for horizon scanning. The resulting weekly can be accessed here. As I am only too aware of information overload, the choice of  a weekly rather than daily paper made sense. With time, I’ll try to see if it is possible to improve results by changing various settings. Right now, the content is heavily biased towards technology, although none of my criteria included them. One of the hypotheses that would allow explaining this phenomenon might be that one of my keyword was #future, and that future orientated tweets might tend to be dominated by technological innovations. Furthermore people using Twitter are most …

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