From Seer to King – Success with Strategic Foresight and Warning

(Art design: Jean-Dominique Lavoix-Carli) Have you ever heard about Cassandra’s brother, who shared his sister’s gift of prophecy but not her curse? Could this legend, as other ancient myths, facts and histories, give us some clues to make our delivery and communication of strategic foresight and early warning products more efficient? Could it tell us …

From Cassandra’s Curse to the Pythia’s Success

(Art design: Jean-Dominique Lavoix-Carli) When delivering warnings, are we doomed to never be believed, sharing the same fate as Cassandra, the tragic character of Greek mythology? Or, on the contrary, can we hope to become as successful as the Pythia, the oracle priestess of Apollo at Delphi? Her gift of prophecy becoming a curse, Cassandra …

Why the Messenger Got Shot and how to Avoid this Fate

“Shooting the messenger” is a popular metaphor to highlight that those who deliver warnings most often are blamed, as if they were responsible for the reason for the warning. Meanwhile and as a result, warnings are also not considered. This saying underlines that the norm is the exact opposite of the objectives of early warning …

Communication of Strategic Foresight and Early Warning

A warning does not exist if it is not delivered. This is a key lesson highlighted by the famous expert in warning Cynthia Grabo, who worked as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government from 1942 to 1980 (Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning, Editor’s Preface). Similarly, a foresight product such as scenarios, for example, …

The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly – 9 April 2020 – COVID-19 Cognitive Overload?

This is the 9 April 2020 issue of our weekly scan for political and geopolitical risks (open access). Again, a very large part is devoted to the COVID-19. Read the scan below, after the editorial, quite long this week. Editorial First, this week’s scan features the excellent article “Stretching the International Order to Its Breaking …

Foreseeing the Future of the Modern Nation-State: the Chronicles of Everstate

Riots and protests have been progressively, and in an accelerating way, occurring in many countries. Starting with France in 2005, they spread throughout most of the world, from the Arab Spring to Thailand through Hong Kong, the U.S. or, more recently Venezuela, Algeria and France, again, with the Yellow Vest movement at the end of …

Scenarios: Improving the Impact of Foresight thanks to Biases

Foreseeing the future, whatever the name given to the endeavour, includes two major tasks.

The first one is, of course, the analysis, the process according to which the foresight, forecast, warning, or, more broadly, anticipation is obtained.

The second one is less obvious, or rather so evident that it may be overlooked. It is, however, no less vital than analysis. We need to deliver the output of the analytical process to those who need the foresight, the decision-makers or policy-makers. Ideally, the recipients must understand that output, because they will act on it. They need to integrate the new knowledge received in the decisions they will take.*

A huge challenge runs across these tasks: biases.

We must overcome the various natural and constructed biases – systematic mental errors – that limit human understanding. This article will present first the classical way we deal with biases: we consider them – quite rightly – as “enemies” and we devote much effort to mitigate them. Then, considering the specificity of the delivery stage, this article suggests that another strategy is necessary. We need to turn our usual strategy on its head and befriend biases. In that case, scenarios become a tool of choice for an enhanced delivery of our foresight to decision-makers […]

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Modeling for Dynamic Risks and Uncertainties (1) : Mapping Risk and Uncertainty

(This article is a fully updated version of the original article published in November 2011 under the title “Creating a Foresight and Warning Model: Mapping a Dynamic Network (I)”). 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 …

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Revisiting Timeliness for Strategic Foresight and Warning and Risk Management

[Fully rewritten version v3] To exist, risk and foresight products as well as warnings must be delivered to those who must act upon them, the customers, clients or users. These anticipation analyses must also be actionable, which means that they need to include the right information necessary to see action taken. Yet, if you deliver …

Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (6) : The Psychological Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks

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

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