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London Visions: Exaggerated realities for possible futures – review

April 25, 2018

The Museum of London’s “London Visions: Exaggerated realities for possible futures” event ended recently.  Its deliberately over-the-top visions were intended as scenarios of the future to provoke discussion and stimulate imagination.  Although exaggerated, these visions are grounded in today’s realities, rather than being wild fantasies.  The curator sought to avoid dystopian or utopian views, instead aiming to identify what adaptations to our way of living each scenario might require.

“Flooded London” takes the current trends of climate change and rising sea-levels and envisages much of the current city underwater. But rather than regard this as a disaster, the vision sees it as a tranquil scene to be enjoyed. A man is pictured rowing into St Paul’s cathedral, and treating it as a swimming pool.  Personally, I don’t think this vision was worked through enough – the ramifications are massive, even if one does look for the upsides.

“Endless vertical London” considers the forecast of 13 million people in London by 2050 and asks how they might be housed. The response is a skyscraper that can be extended upwards without limit because of its spiral construction, and house the whole population of the city. It would contain its own ecosystems to support the occupants.  This contrasts with another vision called “Megalomania” (though it’s not clear to me why) which sees the city endlessly being re-developed, buildings being replaced before they’re completed, the city as a never-ending building site – as I looked around the City afterwards, it seemed that was a very plausible scenario!  Another high density scenario imagined widespread use of autonomous vehicles, which led to reduced need for roads, and the creation of more green spaces.

Another scenario looked at how the development of AI and robotics might play out. It described a fictional company called Farsight which created work environments that were fun – called “playwork”. These places would be so much fun that the issue of work/life balance doesn’t arise, it was all “funemployment”. Interestingly, it acknowledges this might not suit the shy, anti-social or recently bereaved.

A separate part of the exhibition featured the results of a hyper-local social radio project in one tower block in Finsbury Park.  This enabled people to share their views on their locality and their wishes for the future of the city.

Overall, I’m afraid I don’t think the exhibition achieved what it might have done.  The exhibits were all well produced and attractively presented, but I found little emotional resonance; I didn’t get a real feeling of what it would be like living in that world. The concept of taking a known trend and exaggerating it sounded exciting, but the visions produced weren’t worked through enough – what would my home look like, how would I travel, what would work be?

When SAMI produces scenarios for clients we put particular emphasis on how people would behave. Illustrating the scenario with news headlines is another way of capturing the feel of a new world. We often produce “a day in the life of…”  word-pictures, or actual cartoons to capture the challenges and novelty of different potential worlds.  It is essential that the scenario, no matter how different or challenging, continues to feel like a real world, with all its complications and difficulties.

JR's scenario picture

We run training courses on scenario building – if you are interested please contact training@samiconsulting.co.uk

Written by Huw Williams, SAMI Principal.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at newreader@samiconsulting.co.uk  and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

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“Not all who wander are lost”

April 18, 2018

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Dr John Carney, Principal Scientist in the Systems Thinking and Consulting Group of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) recently wrote a blog on the Foresight section of the Government Office for Science website – “Ten Commandments of Horizon Scanning”. In this he sought to capture the critical factors for successful Horizon Scanning (HS) in a UK Government Department.  I’d say the lessons apply to HS for all organisations and are useful to practitioners and clients alike.

He points out that the term “Horizon Scanning” itself has a range of interpretations, and so a critical first thing to establish between practitioner and client is an actual definition and clarity of scope. In work that SAMI Consulting has done for Government clients, the term has been used to mean anything between “technology watch” and full scenario planning.

Clients need to understand early on that HS is not forecasting or prediction. Sometimes clients ask “what is your track record in getting your scenarios right?”  This misses the point: HS is aiming to bring new perceptions, to challenge set world-views and assumptions, and to open up strategy or policy-making to more options.  To achieve that you need to be looking in different places from the usual subject-matter sources, trying to find the novel and surprising “unasked questions”. “Not all who wander are lost” (attributed to JRR Tolkein).

In our experience, it’s also necessary to encourage scanning beyond the technology developments of the day.  AI, Big Data and the Internet of Things will of course have major impacts on almost every organisation, but they are not the only significant forces around – changing generational values, new economic structures, unstable geo-politics will all have profound impacts on the future.

Also, we’d argue that one needs to consider second- and third-order effects. A tool called “Futures Wheel”can be used to systematically explore these effects by explicitly identifying each effect and its further consequences. For example, climate change will have many effects, but if it leads to more efficient non-fossil fuel energy sources, what impact will that have on the economics and stability of oil-rich states? And then on migration and energy demand?  Especially if at the same time there is increased competition for scarce natural resources like water.

Dr Carney makes several very good points about the organisation and processes of HS.  You need a champion or sponsor; the need to retain scientific credibility (some, but not too many, wacky ideas);  the difficulties of being in a “challenge” function, conveying unpalatable views; sustaining the team.

We saw this last point ourselves when we worked with the Futures Council of Conference Board Europe. This was a group of futurists set up with over 30 members from companies across Europe. Five years later only six were still in the role – half the others had gone back to a line role, the rest became consultants focusing on foresight and futures. Sitting in the middle is hard.

Have a read of Dr Carney’s “Ten Commandments” – and let us know what you think.

Written by Huw Williams, SAMI Principal.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at eSAMIsignup@samiconsulting.co.uk and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

What might be the future for the sea?

April 11, 2018

Huw Williams, SAMI Principal, reviews a report from the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Foresight Future of the Sea.

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The Government Office for Science Foresight team published this report in March. It looks to suggest a new strategic direction to UK marine and maritime policy, in particular to seize opportunities and avoid strategic threats.

The report points out that the sea matters to UK because of the economic effects both on established sectors (eg fishing, oil and gas) and emerging ones (eg aquaculture, off-shore wind); and environmental effects (biodiversity and ecosystems). They also focus on governance (eg international treaties). It argues that the UK can seize new opportunities because of its historically strong marine and scientific capabilities, and that “business as usual” is not an option (it didn’t actually say why, but it would have been surprising if it said it was!).

The report makes many recommendations for policy action, but in this note I have focused more on the trends it identifies. SAMI itself has produced a set of 12 “megatrends” (email info@samiconsulting.co.uk for a copy) and it’s interesting to compare those with what Go-Science have come up with.

At a top level they suggest that:

  • New technology, such as autonomous vessels, will open up new areas for exploration and exploitation, and increased trade will make the oceans busier;
  • A growing world population will put pressure on resources;
  • Climate change will impact both industry and communities.

Looking in more detail, the report uses a STEEP approach to identify trends:

  • Social: Population growth and consequent resource demand; the impact  of an ageing population on workforce and coastal communities “where people are on average older than in the rest of the UK”; global migration to the coast as a result of urbanisation – 12 of the world’s largest 16 cities are within 100km of the sea. The SAMI megatrends also identified changing generational values as an interesting trend, which in this context could translate into greater environmental awareness and willingness to act.
  • Technology: Autonomous vessels and AI will enable a better understanding of the sea’s potential, make exploration of the deep sea easier and also improve monitoring of the marine environment and illegal activities; as will improved satellite communications (we would argue that the Internet of Things plays in to this too); cybersecurity will be an issue here too; biotech will open up new “marine genetic resources”; alternative fuels are being developed to help reduce carbon emissions; AI will also impact the skills requirements for the maritime industries.
  • Environment: Clearly climate change is a major issue but more immediately so is over-exploitation – fish stocks are under threat with over 30% being fished unsustainably, creating opportunities for aquaculture (fish farming in plain English); ocean warming is leading to a decline in cold-water species and changing patterns of fish distribution; sea levels are forecast to rise by up to a metre by 2100 impacting coastal communities and infrastructure; the sea is become more acid and algae blooms are leading to de-oxidisation; pollution from plastics (expected to treble by 2025) and chemicals continues to increase; there could be an effect on carbon sequestration, which to date has absorbed much of the anthropogenic carbon emissions.
  • Economics: The report notes OECD expectations of growth in the “ocean economy” eg in trade and offshore wind power, and growing reliance on the sea for resources ; there may be a decline in some UK industries (eg offshore oil and gas) and disparities between regions; overall they expect to see more seaborne trade and the emergence of new sectors such as deep-sea mining and offshore renewable energy (wind, wave and tidal).
  • Politics: Brexit, and what follows the Common Fisheries Policy and its impact on trade patterns, represents an opportunity for a “Global Britain” to take a lead in international maritime organisations; the increasing value of marine resources may increase potential geo-political conflict eg in the South China Sea or Eastern Mediterranean; political instability may be caused by extreme flooding and the failure of economies based on fishing. Wider geo-political issues which we’ve identified, such as challenges to international co-operation and the rise of other economies are, perhaps understandably, missing.

As to the implications of these trends, the report takes an upbeat view for the UK, arguing that is uniquely positioned to lead because of its historical position. It calls for an Industrial Strategy that features the “ocean economy” and, through appropriate support for marine science policy and certain emerging sectors, maximises the UK strengths in areas like offshore wind power and marine insurance.

The report makes some 16 different recommendations, the first and most fundamental being that “The UK should develop a more strategic position, with clear priorities, with regards to its marine interests”. No surprise there. Generally, the recommendations focus on ways for the UK to exploit commercial opportunities, manage environmental challenges, and take a leading position in international governance bodies.

Written by Huw Williams, SAMI Principal.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at eSAMIsignup@samiconsulting.co.uk and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

Beyond Crisis

April 5, 2018

In 2010, three of us – Oliver Sparrow, Patricia Lustig and I – wrote a book called “Beyond Crisis”. It was divided into three parts:

  • Explaining why the post World War II world had broken irrevocably, so that after the crisis of 2008 there would be no return to Business As Usual
  • The implications for leadership – the new shape of organisations
  • Tools that could help manage in this new and uncertain environment.

It argued that products and services are able to be delivered efficiently using widely adopted management tools. But these could then be commoditised and were subject to price collapse. The increasing use of machine and augmented intelligence and robots has only accelerated that trend. To survive, organisations need to insightful and adaptive. The Beyond Crisis model represents organisations in two parts – one responsible for efficient day to day operation and the other responsible for adaption. Crucial are the links between the two parts and this is where the book focuses, distinguishing leadership characteristics needed for this organisation.

B Crisis 2

The book was well received, for instance by the former editor of the Economist and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Rupert Pennant-Rea “If you want to know how countries, companies and individuals can master the winds and waves that will dominate the next decade, this is the book for you”.

And it highlighted for us two things

  • The difficulty of creating compelling images of the future compared with the relative ease of analysing history – and hence basing decisions on a foresighted view rather than a backward one
  • The need to build the implications for leadership and the new shape of organisations into wider management thinking.

To tackle the first, we looked at some of the new science fiction. For instance, three new science fiction novels in 2017 engage with climate change. Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 (Orbit) is a multilayered novel set in a flooded Big Apple. Paul McAuley’s Austral (Gollancz) is set in a powerfully realised near‑future Antarctica transformed by global warming. Jeff VanderMeer’s vivid Borne (4th Estate) takes a different, neo-surrealist approach, with a flying bear as big as a cathedral rampaging through wastelands.

So science fiction can create strong images. But it has some hurdles in creating images of the future which help organisations think about their strategy. One is the pace of change, so that fiction is often overtaken by events. The second is – that it is fiction. The third is that there are a number of mega trends affecting the world today, so that in addition to climate change we are facing warfare through social media, the impact of changing demographics on the planning assumptions of many major corporates, the increasing inability of governments to match tax revenues with citizens’ expectations. Science fiction finds it difficult to integrate these.

What is needed is a link back to informed thinking, which traces the potential trajectory of the megatrends, explores their potential impact and connections. So this will be the next book that Tricia and I write – watch this space.

The need to build the ideas from Beyond Crisis onto wider management thinking got a major boost by their adoption into a seminal work, The MultiCapital Scorecard: Rethinking Organizational Performance, by Martin P. Thomas and Mark W. McElroy. This book is about building a world where business and society thrive together. It argues that companies need to focus on solving the world’s challenges and that using the tools of capitalism and markets are our best bet. The structures in Beyond Crisis provide a model for how such organisations could function. But how will business leaders know whether they have made this big pivot or how far they have to go to get to the hard-to-define sustainable? Business has been missing the right metrics and tools. This new MultiCapital Scorecard fills that critical gap: it is a . robust dashboard managers need to understand how they are really doing on environmental, social, and financial performance.

The common theme is the need for leaders to be able to engage with society in order to be sustainable.

Written by Gill Ringland, SAMI Fellow Emeritus.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at eSAMIsignup@samiconsulting.co.uk and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

What does Superforecasting do? Not do?

March 28, 2018

Forecasting is a basic part of business planning in every organisation – forecasts of the external business environment, the market, the competition. Forecasts aim for accuracy. Professor Philip Tetlock is a social scientist now at the University of Pennsylvania who has designed and run major experiments on the characteristics of successful forecasters. A summary of his findings is captured in the acronym CHAMP below, and his latest book is “Superforecasting: the art and science of prediction”, written with Dan Gardner, Random House, ISBN 978-1-847-94714-7.

Tetlock’s CHAMP

Comparisons are important:   use relevant comparisons as a starting point

Historical trends can help: look at history unless you have a strong reason to expect change

Average out opinions: experts disagree so find out what they think and pick a mid-point

Mathematical models: when model based predictions are available you should take them into account

Predictable biases exist and can be allowed for. Don’t confuse hopes with forecasts; don’t cling to old forecasts in the face of news.

The book is excellent and should be read by all who have responsibility for making decisions – whether personal or in organisations. It offers practical advice on how to use the methods used by successful forecasters.

We in SAMI have been scenario planning practitioners for all of our 25 years. Does this mean that we are going over to superforecasting?

We recognise and endorse the ingredients of CHAMP:

Absolutely, comparisons between industries and between countries are a staple ingredient of building scenarios

Absolutely, historical trends can help because then as Eisenhower famously said, Plans are worthless, but planning is everything, and planning needs to build on what we carry forward from the past.

Average out opinions – here is the crux of the difference – scenarios aim to explore different possible futures, often based on different current competing philosophies.

Mathematical models – we will explore in later blogs the role of mathematical models in exploring the future – essentially the implications that models are based on assumptions and can mislead unless these assumptions are transparent and explicit to all users of the model. And most models are not constructed to be able to handle fundamental shifts in underlying behaviour.

Absolutely, predictable biases exist – yes! This is so important, and we run a training course on this, details on www.samiconsulting.co.uk/training.

It is important to note the scope of the superforecasters in terms of both subject matter and timescale.

Subject matter: the experimental data on successful forecasters is based on global political forecasting (in the original book, Tetlock, P.E. Expert political judgment: How good is it? How can we know?. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691128719.) and in creating his subsequent panel of volunteers. Do the heuristics apply to forecasting of take up of technology and ensuing social change? Here, for instance, it can be argued that averaging out of opinions may mean that prudent planning is not done, as in the telecoms companies who were late in explore the changes in traffic patterns from mobiles and the internet-driven data flows. Or Steve Ballmer, then CEO of Microsoft, “There is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance”

Timescale: judging forecasts is difficult unless they are explicit about the timescale. And most forecasts don’t – like Steve Ballmer’s above. But we note that the experimental data about superforecasters quoted in the book is that superforcasters looking out 300 days were more accurate the forecasters looking out 100 days.

So, as our work is often about futures 5 years to 50 out, we learn what we can from Superforecasters and then need to add in the potential paradigm changers and explore these through scenarios – possible different futures.

Written by Gill Ringland, SAMI Fellow Emeritus.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at eSAMIsignup@samiconsulting.co.uk and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

 

State of the Future 19.1

March 21, 2018

In his second blog on the work of the Millennium Project, Tony Diggle looks at their latest “State of the Future” report.

Published at the end of last year, this report is the nineteenth in a series of reports (originally annual and subsequently biennial) produced by the Millennium Project, a voluntary think tank of futurists, scholars, scientists, business planners and policymakers worldwide. It is intended to provide an overview of the global strategic landscape, a context for understanding global issues, opportunities and foreseeable prospects, and offers a systematic framework for understanding global change. It is aimed at thought leaders, decision-makers and interested parties generally. The Project’s diversity of opinion and global views is ensured by its sixty-three nodes around the world in all continents.

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The heart of the report is a description of fifteen interdependent global challenges and actions to address them: these are transnational in nature and trans-institutional in solution. The challenges listed are as follows:

  1. Sustainable Development and Climate Change
  2. Water and Sanitation
  3. Population and Resources
  4. Democratization
  5. Global Foresight and Decision-Making
  6. Global Convergence of ICT
  7. Rich-Poor Gap
  8. Health Issues
  9. Education and Learning
  10. Peace and Conflict
  11. Status of Women
  12. Transnational Organised Crime
  13. Energy
  14. Science and Technology
  15. Global Ethics

The report finds that the world overall is expected to continue to improve over the next ten years. For example, extreme poverty has fallen from 51% in 1981 to 13% in 2012 and less than 10% currently. On the other hand environmental conditions, armed conflicts, terrorism and organised crime are getting worse. Distinctions between the last three have begun to blur increasing threats to democracies, development and security. Technological developments are expected to lead to a “fourth industrial revolution” making use of artificial intelligence, but as the developing world grows, water consumption per capita will increase giving rise to the possibility of serious water crises and migrations.

The body of the report dealing with the fifteen challenges individually is shorter and punchier than in previous years, but can still come across at times as a rather bland “statement of the case” with a wish list of solutions attached. But since the Millennium Project has been rated as among the top think tanks in the world for “new ideas and paradigms”, perhaps this should be seen as a virtue.

Naturally one challenge of particular interest to futurists is the fifth one, which addresses the problem of global governance systems not keeping up with global interdependence. A general long-term view of the future with long range goals is needed, and this requires a means of linking research and development agendas to such goals. National foresight and decision-making can be improved. Recommended actions include: establishing permanent Parliamentary Committees for the Future (as Finland has done), establishing or improving future strategy units for heads of state and in government and linking these government units with strategy units in other appropriate institutions to improve international strategic coherence and co-ordination.

A supplementary section deals with some other recent work done by the Millennium Project. It has run a number of country workshops to explore the future of work and technology to 2050. The underlying theme that has emerged is that work will increasingly be rendered unnecessary or taken over by technological developments, and some sort of universal basic income will need to be generated. In the most optimistic scenario, men and women will be freed from the necessity of having a job and instead achieve self-respect in the “self-actualising” economy.

The report concludes that there is a greater consensus about the global situation as expressed in these challenges and the actions to address them than is evident in the news media. It boldly asserts that slowly but surely, a globally oriented planetary stewardship consciousness is emerging. Yet it also warns that the world is in a race between implementing ever-increasing ways to improve the human condition and the seemingly ever-increasing complexity and scale of global problems.

Given its contribution to the work on the threat from terrorism discussed at length in the preceding SAMI blog, and also reported in summary in this report, this is not a caution to be treated lightly.

More information on the Millennium Project is available from their website www.millennium-project.org.

“State of the Future 19.1” is available as a paperback and as a download from http://www.millennium-project.org/state-of-the-future-version-19-1/.

Written by Tony Diggle, SAMI Associate and member of the UK Node of the Millennium Project. He writes in a personal capacity.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at eSAMIsignup@samiconsulting.co.uk and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

Countering the Threat from Terrorism

March 14, 2018

In this blog, and in the one following, Tony Diggle looks at two recent publications relating to the work of the Millennium Project, a voluntary think tank of futurists, scholars, scientists, business planners and policymakers worldwide. 

This first blog looks at the proceedings of an Advanced Research Workshop on the “Identification of Potential Terrorists and Adversary Planning” held in Washington DC.

In July, 2016, under the auspices of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, an Advanced Research Workshop on “Identification of Potential Terrorists and Adversary Planning – Emerging Technologies and New Counter-Terror Strategies” was held in Washington DC. It was organised by the Millennium Project USA and the FIRST2T group, Israel, and the updated proceedings were published last year. They make sombre reading.

Introducing the volume, Jamie Shea, a NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General, pointed out that twenty years ago terrorism was problem for a limited number of countries and followed a predictable pattern. Nationalist groups such as the IRA had well-known political agendas. Now terrorism had become a universal challenge, with many more groups, increasingly networked, and some of which like ISIS had acquired a global outreach and appeal. Whereas the old terrorists focussed on state institutions or representatives, the new brand was more focussed on the liberal way of life and all its manifestations, in other words the ordinary man in the street – everywhere.

In a presentation from the two organising groups on potential counter-measures made by Ted Gordon and others, attention was drawn to a worrying vulnerability: the proposed approaches for monitoring, detection, trend analysis and archival resourcing currently under consideration by the counter-terrorism community all depended on the continuous availability of electricity. This made them vulnerable in toto to hostile cyber attacks. Gary Kessler reminded the workshop that shortly before it was held, NATO had officially recognised cyberspace as an operational domain, adding this dimension of warfare to air, sea and land.

Paul Werbos, former Program Director, National Science Foundation, USA, underscored this further in addressing the consequences of “cyberblitzkrieg” on electricity and other critical infrastructure. Recent releases of information widely reported in the media had revealed among other things detailed information about how the Stuxnet type of cyberattack could be used to destroy large electric power generators. The potential damage of such an attack on a number of big generators in the U.S. simultaneously could be comparable to that of a major Electromagnetic Pulse Event (EMP). Mr Werbos quoted Trent Franks, a Congressman with access to classified information, as saying in discussing EMP:

“Your folks are only worried because you do not have all the facts. If you had all the facts, you would be terrified out of your minds.”

Fortunately technological solutions were available, but required tougher compliance and regulation to be implemented.

In short, technology by itself might cause as many problems as it solved when it came to trying to prevent terrorism in the future. A wider sweep at the problem was required.

But what was the problem? Philippe Destatte, Foresight Associate Professor at Paris-Diderot University, pointed out that terror was inherent to violence and war. In Julius Caesar’s “Commentaries on the Gallic Wars”, he told of how his brilliant and brutal attacks both retained his friends in their loyalty, and by fear, obliged the wavering to accept offers of peace. Although terrorism might seem an immoral form of war, the profound collapse that the moral code of behaviour underwent in almost all wars on the part of all parties in the 20th century, including the targeting of civilians, showed that the difference between terrorism and other forms of war was one of interpretation. Professor Destatte referred to Guy Standing, a professor at the University of London, who had described a large part of the adult population (at least a quarter) as alienated, anomic, anxious and prone to anger, in political disengagement: the precariat. Professor Standing had written:

“A group that sees no future of security or identity will feel fear and frustration that could lead to its lashing out at identifiable or imagined causes of its lots.”1

The context was explored further by Adrian Pop, Director of the Centre for Regional and Global Studies, Bucharest, Romania in a presentation focussing on the security challenges on the south-eastern flank of the Euro-Atlantic border. In a period of economic recession and high unemployment, increasing numbers of European citizens were disillusioned by what they viewed as mainstream government’s inability to protect them from foreigners who threatened their values and undermined their economic development (irrespective of whether there was any justification for such a position). Yet in 2014, the countries with some of the highest levels of internally displaced peoples had the highest numbers of deaths from terrorism: Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria. These four countries were all accessible to Europe by land via its south Eastern flank, and this had become a transit corridor for millions of refugees. More than anecdotal evidence suggested that refugee camps could serve as breeding grounds for terrorism.

Recommendations made by the report to deal with the threat included engaging sources of potential terrorism in the political process and inter-religious dialogue. Countering social media terrorist propaganda remained of key importance, and the efforts of a UN Working Group focussed on this area needed to be developed further. Initiatives aimed at educating people (including people with a “Western” mindset) to “see the world as others see it” needed to be increased not scaled back as was too often the case. An “all-of-society” approach was needed, and the need to develop a system of values such as individual liberty, equality, social coherence and solidarity crucial for the future development of counter-terrorist measures.

All this is complex, and far easier said than done. In this brief review, I have only been able to scratch the surface of an extremely dense and probing publication that contained fifteen papers in all. The report underlined the seriousness of the problem. The proceedings are available in hard copy and in electronic format. Full bibliographic details are given below.

“Identification of Potential Terrorists and Adversary Planning – Emerging Technologies and New Counter-Terror Strategies” ed. by Theodore J GORDON and others. Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Washington DC, 24th-27th July, 2016. IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2017. ISBN 978-1-61499-747-4 (print), 978-1-61499-748-1 (online).

Website: http://www.iospress.nl/     E-mail: order@iospress.nl

REFERENCE

  1. STANDING, Guy, “The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class”, Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2011, pp. 24-25.

Written by Tony Diggle, SAMI Associate and member of the UK Node of the Millennium Project. He writes in a personal capacity.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

If you enjoyed this blog from SAMI Consulting, the home of scenario planning, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at eSAMIsignup@samiconsulting.co.uk and/or browse our website at http://www.samiconsulting.co.uk

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