Category Concepts

Crowded Seas: Part 2

Part 2 of the three part #CrowdedSeas fiction and futures project is now available at CIMSEC.  Written by Scott Cheney-Peters and Richard Lum, and using both fiction and foresight, the project is exploring the future of security in the maritime domain in the 2030-2050 time horizon. Part 1 of Crowded Seas was published as part […]

Anticipating Types of Machine-Driven Conflict

The White House recently held the first of several workshops on AI, and in it experts discussed some of the emerging legal and ethical ramifications of machine learning.  As machines become embedded ever more deeply into our everyday systems and processes for making decisions, how will we feel about being denied, flagged, or discriminated against […]

Hedgehogs vs. Foxes: Be Both!

The Advanced Strategies course for the Foresight Program at the University of Houston is coming to a close now that the semester is ending.  Of the various concepts we discussed with students in the class, one was Collins’ “hedgehog concept” for organizations.  Most of the students of course enjoyed Collins’ famous book, Good to Great, […]

3 Types of Surprises to Address in Your Foresight

Given today’s events in Brussels, this seems like a good time to revisit the issue of “surprise.”  Last year I gave a talk to the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (slides below), and in it the organizers asked me to emphasize the issue of black swans.  The “black swan” was restored to modern fame […]

4 Key Uncertainties with Technological Change

Change in the world can be complex and partly the product of emergent patterns, but that is seldom a reason to throw our hands up in the air and decide to not wrestle with the uncertainty we face each day when thinking about or planning for the future. Uncertainty is inherent to “the future,” perhaps […]

Unbounded Conflict: mutable, multilateral conflict in the 21st C.

War has always had the tendency to spiral to the extreme, so it isn’t much of a surprise when we witness conflicts evolve, entrench, and expand, but today it feels increasingly legitimate to say we could be witnessing the emergence of a new period in human conflict.  To identify an “emerging issue,” I would call […]

Towards Addressing the “This is too academic” Complaint

Just back from a conference in DC on trying to come to grips with an apparent world order in which there is no war, but yet no real peace either, and the jet lag has me up and playing with a couple of different posts.  So here’s the first. The conference itself was interesting, and […]

Thinking about Non-State Actors, part 1

This will likely (hopefully) be the first of at least a couple of light ruminations on non-state actors (NSAs) on the global political stage. As anyone who has read, followed, or participated in various aspects of international relations, international security, or globalization studies knows, NSAs have for decades been regularly, and increasingly, cited as important […]

US Strategy and the Big Question

The past few years have revealed a growing sense that the United States needs some form of new construct at the strategic level to frame its interpretation of the world and its decision making.  There have been calls for a new grand strategy, refutations of the appropriateness of grand strategy, calls for new strategic narratives, […]

Foresight and Futures

Note: this post was originally published on 8/1/2014. On the flight over to a client workshop yesterday (which turned out really well) I drafted up another version of our cone of uncertainty, that graphic that we use to communicate the expanding range of possibilities and uncertainty as we look further into the future(s).  My recent […]