Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Forum for the Future produces world scenarios

Had a quick look at the scenario planning report produced by Forum for the Future and Capgemini. Interesting stuff and well presented.

It's always interesting, when looking at scenarios to see both what has been included and what has been left out. Forum for the Future has no scenario for world depression or economic collapse and there is an assumption that climate change has had no serious impact. All scenario assume no significant resources constraints to overall development, although they may change the path of development. This makes sense in that planning for economic collapse if virtually impossible until you are certain that is what is happening, and by that time there are little resources to do so. If we have significant climate destabilisation, then that is a whole different set of scenarios.

Choices of what to include are equally interesting. The Business as Usual scenario called National Interest looks at where we are headed if we all go with the flow, and it's not comfortable. This is nationalistic world of who knows who, secret deals and lack of standards and openness that we have come to expect.

Global Interest is the optimistic, full steam ahead let's crack this together scenario and reminds us that the challenges of energy and climate change are a big opportunity for business.

Patched up Globalisation sees China fail to rise to world domination as expected due to internal problems and there is an element of clinging to the old order as well as moving with towards energy security while addressing climate change. This will likely be a more comfortable scenario for many than the more progressive Global Interest.

Me and Mine Online is the scenario that really caught my imagination. What would happen if the networked, online, constantly connected early adopters became the norm? What if all the ideas coming down the line like Grid 2.0, Distributed manufacturing, virtual worlds ubiquitous. Governments, companies and countries become less important than online groups. Supply chains are very short for everything from finance to products. Am going to think about this one some more as it has profound implications.

I can find very little to be critical of, so I will nit pick briefly.

A personal gripe here that applies to a number of reports I have read recently. If the report is more than 6 pages long and I am really interested so will want to jot notes on it, I will print it out to read. So please -
no huge chunks of dense color - it uses lots of expensive ink and I can't write on it
no clever formatting - no odd page sizes - this report would not print on an XEROX laser printer, it cut off the right hand side and kept getting stuck.
no really small writing - if I have to read it online, I keep having to zoom in.
thank you!

I encourage you to download the report and have read. It's well presented and only 19 pages long cover to cover.

Share and enjoy.