Governments make new efforts to avoid strategic shocks: Reuters article from SOIF speaker on the importance of Strategic Foresight

Our Monday after-dinner speaker, Peter Apps, wrote about and article about his insights into strategic foresight having attended the first three days of SOIF:

(Reuters) – Blindsided by the “Arab Spring”, taken aback by the speed of the economic and geopolitical shift to Asia and apparently always a step behind on the Eurozone, Western governments are putting new effort into “horizon scanning” for coming seismic global shifts.

For the United States and its allies, some worry the heightened focus on Iraq, Afghanistan and the “war on terror” meant the bigger picture was far too often ignored.  While no one expects truly accurate prediction, senior officials and managers complain that the last half-decade has too often seen specialists and experts failing to notice dramatic change on a scale not seen since the – equally unexpected – fall of the Soviet Union.

Britain’s Cabinet Office – which houses the analysts who pull together intelligence assessments for the Prime Minister and other senior officials – is conducting a review of its “horizon scanning” and ability to think about long-term trends.

Other governments and major institutions are often taking similar steps.

“What I need from horizon scanning is not a focus on everything that might happen in the next 6 to 12 months,” Jon Day, chairman of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee, told an audience at Foreign Office-funded conference centre Wilton Park outside London on Tuesday. “What I need is more advanced warning of the really important paradigm shifts.”

He was speaking as part of a conference-cum-course on “international futures” attended by senior policy planners from a range of governments and companies.

Read the rest of the article here

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