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, …

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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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 …

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 …

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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