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4 Steps to the Future for the New Year

Happy New Year! Now that we’ve hit our shiny New Year, it’s a great time to give a shout out for my book, 4 Steps to the Future: A Quick and Clean Guide to Creating Foresight.  I published 4 Steps last year as an easy-to-use guide for generating foresight and I’m very grateful for the […]

4 Ways to “Get” Strategic Thinking

It’s that time of the year again: time to reflect on past accomplishments (and disappointments, let’s be honest) and time to look forward with renewed hope to the new year.  Inevitably, this time of year sees many of us looking for prognostications about what the new year will bring as well as new tools and […]

Futures Fiction: Exploring #CrowdSeas Futures Through Fiction

As the first part of our #CrowdedSeas project exploring the futures of maritime security in Asia, Scott Cheney-Peters and I have been working on a short story fiction piece set in a mid-term future.  The first section of this story, Hope Renewed, was just published on the Project for the Study of the 21st Century […]

Three Narrative Realms for Machines in Conflict & Security

In a previous post I wrote about starting to view the world in terms of three “ecosystems”: natural, human social, and machine.  This approach should be useful for anyone wanting to think more critically about the future of machines in general and about human-machine interactions in particular. In a similar fashion, one could take a […]

Thinking About the Past and Futures of Artillery

A couple of days ago we were having a discussion about the extent to which the artillery branch of the military has changed its frames of reference and its operating concepts in the last couple of decades.  In the course of discussing this, we started comparing the extent to which artillery has changed since, say, […]

Defense Futures, Part II: Sampling Disruptive Scenarios

A previous post, Defense Futures: Why All of Our Scenarios Should Be Disruptive, I wrote about the need to have our long-term DoD scenarios be “disruptive.”  In this context, disruptive scenarios should challenge core assumptions about the security environment and about how we are organized to provide it.  As the earlier post points out, the […]

Type A Scenarios: The Challenge of Continuity

In one of yesterday’s posts I introduced the scenario approach used in the 4 Steps model, which is based on the three very basic patterns of change we see in the world.  Those patterns are continuity, incremental change, and abrupt change, and by varying them just a bit, we create four basic “types” of scenarios: […]

4 Scenario Types: Creating Scenarios with Different Patterns of Change

As I have said on previous occasions, scenarios are a workhorse method for futurists.  Because they are so important to a lot of foresight work, over the years practitioners have developed a wide variety of methods for developing scenarios.  While I have previously introduced the TOCS-driven approach that I developed (see link, below), today I […]

Near-Term Foresight Pivots: Can You Address Both the “Urgent” and the “Important?”

Fighting Fires vs. Planting Seeds Most organizational leaders are intimately familiar with the “urgent vs. important” phenomenon: things that are important in the long-term or larger context are quite often displaced by near-term and “tactical” fires that demand to be put out.  We tend to postpone addressing the important because we feel like the urgent […]

Trends vs. Emerging Issues: What is the Difference?

When it comes to thinking about the future, just about everyone will at some point come around to talking about trends.  A trend speaks to changes that we have been measuring, which means there’s normally quantitative data points (doesn’t that make everyone feel better J), and we can’t but help extrapolate into the future whatever […]