Like a lost chapter from Kim Stanley Robinson’s now seminal near-future science fiction novel The Ministry of the Future, reporting from Info France 2, Collectif Bassines Non-Merci, Le Huffington Post, Midi Libre, France24, The New York Times, and Le Monde details the recent clashes in the French western region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine (and other parts of the country) to water scarcity brought on by drought conditions in France. At issue: the future of water management and government policy and projects guided by the French government’s deployment of a controversial “mega-basin” strategy.
“The Worst-Case Scenario is the Least Probable” and Other Cognitive Biases: Global Drought, Catastrophic Monsoons and Floods and “Zombie Ice”
Our editorial approach here at OODA Loop is an optimistic approach, based on the influence of ‘solutions-based’ journalism and a belief in the American “mission” writ large, including years of experience with deeply humble, remarkably talented people that make up American agencies, departments, and institutions. It is this unique worldview and perspective you will experience firsthand at our upcoming OODA Community conference, OODAcon 2022 – The Future of Exponential Innovation & Disruption.
It is also part of our job, however to position negative metrics and trends as part of our overall sensemaking on behalf of the membership – and try to achieve something resembling a stoic, balanced stance on most information we are handling at any given time. We also use scenario planning to tell the story of the future as we are seeing it – to influence risk strategies and decision-making processes for our member organizations.
So, with that: Are you sitting down? Because I have some bad news, along with a mental model through which to analyze its implications.
The OODA team has participated in “wargame” and red team exercises for over 25 years ranging from traditional DoD Office of Net Assessment games to scenario planning for the Fortune 500. We have personally witnessed these exercises’ impact on establishing appropriate frameworks for thinking about future risks and opportunities. In November 2021, A report was the outcome of our first OODA wargame, which we have branded as a Stratigame (Strategic Game), focusing on the global computer chip supply chain issues. Over the course of 2022, we will return to the foresight strategy and wargame disciplines, providing our membership with research and analysis from the global community of practitioners and thought leaders using these strategic foresight frameworks and methodology as their organization’s strategic toolkit for decision intelligence and risk awareness and mitigation.
As summer approaches, we return to our OODA Special Report on the business impacts of drought conditions. Initiated by OODA CTO Bob Gourley is his June 2021 post – How Drought In The US Should Impact Your Mid To Long Range Strategic Planning – about the unprecedented heatwave in the Pacific Northwest driven by climate change, which focused on the major weather system known as a stationary Heat Dome…making existing drought conditions even worse than they were before.
In 2022, open our aperture globally, to assess how a concern for regional “megadroughts” has now morphed into what has been called “perpetual drought” conditions globally. We now apply a global filter to our research, analysis, and scenario planning. Specifically, Step 2 of the scenario planning process is an effort to explore the external environment for patterns and trends since our assessment last year.
As we have discussed in OODA network meetings and our reporting since the beginning of renewed Russian hostilities against Ukraine, assessing the likelihood of war was relatively easy. We listened to what Putin was saying and understood Russian history, culture and Putin’s imperial ambitions and assessed early that he had made up his mind to invade. But as soon as the war started it became much harder to project the course of events. War is the ultimate competition and surprise must be expected.
That said, we did project that as Russia’s attempt at a US style shock and awe maneuver war campaign failed they would revert back to their old style of horrendous destruction. Sadly that is exactly what happened. It was also easy to make the broad prediction that Putin may seek ways to declare a victory and seek to end hostilities with some sort of gains. Based on propaganda shifts over the last few days there are indications that Putin is seeking to shift to this approach.However, the war is still on and no one can say with any certainty what happens next. This situation calls for scenario planning.
What do the Apache Log4j Vulnerability, Security Community Outreach Efforts, Cognitive Infrastructure, Resilience, Anti-Fragility, John Boyd and Dune have in Common? The December 2021 OODA Network Member Meeting
To help members optimize opportunities and reduce risk, OODA hosts a monthly video call to discuss items of common interest to our membership. These highly collaborative sessions are always a great way for our members to meet and interact with each other while talking about topics like global risks, emerging technologies, cybersecurity, and current or future events impacting their organizations. We also use these sessions to help better focus our research and better understand member needs.
Are we living in a super-VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). To help members optimize opportunities and reduce risk in this VUCA world, OODA hosts a monthly video call to discuss items of common interest to our membership. These highly collaborative sessions are always a great way for our members to meet and interact with each other while talking about topics like global risks, emerging technologies, cybersecurity, and current or future events impacting their organizations. We also use these sessions to help better focus our research and reporting on member needs.
In August of 2020, Bob Gourley was joined by technologist and national security expert Dan Gerstein from Rand Corporation. Dan is also the author of the recently released book entitled “The Story of Technology“ In March of 2020, Bob had a conversation with Lance Mortlock, a Senior Ernst and Young (EY) Strategy Partner. He is the author of the book Disaster Proof: Scenario Planning for Post Pandemic Future, which explores ways scenario planning can help organizations be more resilient.
Threads that emerge in these conversations are approaches leaders can take to prepare for the future, the role of governments in the future of technology, the “technology wars” as they are currently waged, humanities place in this new warfare, expected outcomes from scenario planning and what could be the next big disruptive event.
What is the future of the Global Semiconductor Supply Chain?
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), China has a strategic framework for building a competitive advantage in the semiconductor industry. Implementation measures have also been announced by the Chines government that “encourage U.S. and foreign semiconductor companies to transfer certain technology, intellectual property (IP), talent, and research and development (R&D) to operations in China.”
What does this mean? And what are the implications for your business or organization?
From Semiconductor Supply Chains to Dirty Bombs: Summary of the September 2021 OODA Network Member Meeting
The September monthly meeting covered a range of issues, from planning for an upcoming OODA Network wargame exercise to a recent cyber vulnerability and mitigation, future research on CISA and critical infrastructure, and recent events in France surrounding the discovery of IEDs with uranium traces.