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Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises

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1 Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises
Please note: A revised version of the clearinghouse concept developed here is that of a Websalon Network for Wise Futures, described in “Visionary Designs for Evolving Wise Futures” (Journal of Futures Studies, forthcoming; preprint available upon request). Oliver Markley, PhD Ver 2.1 January, 2012 OliverMarkley.com

2 Outline Framing and communicating wild-cards (aka STEEP Surprises)
A long-range outlook on critical risks and disruptive change The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Risk Resilience Network (RRN) reports and activities Three TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes not considered by WEF/RRN Resilience as a key capacity Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Appendix: The original journal article clearinghouse proposal OliverMarkley.com

3 Traditional Definition of a Wild Card (aka “STEEP Surprise)
“Wild Card” – a low probability event that would have a huge impact if it were to occur Call this a Type I Wild Card

4 New Definition From My New Research on Disruptive Change
Type II Wild Card – a high probability event (as seen by someone with relevant expertise) that has low credibility (for most other observers)

5 Additional Types of Wild-Cards Useful for Monitoring and Strategy
Type I – Low Probability High Credibility Type II – High Probability Low Credibility Type III – High Probability Disputed Credibility Type IV – High Probability Agreed Upon Credibility

6 “Risky Communication” The Ostrich Effect
OliverMarkley.com

7 On the Social Psychology of Communicating Future Risks
See: “Discounting of frightening socio-ecological crises: An "Ostrich Effect?” (“Research and Action Toward the Upside of Down,” p157, OliverMarkley.com

8 To Successfully Communicate Future Risks Not Being Handled by Official Leaders
Provide one or more promising solutions, or approaches through which solutions might be found Don’t question leadership competence or integrity Talk about how nothing is certain, open minded inquiry is always needed; emphasize provisional “if- then” thinking Use scenarios that look backward from a future time in which the risk was/was not mitigated successfully. NB: Like many other slides in this draft version of the show, this will have to be simplified, with the more complex content carried verbally. --om

9 My Publications on These Topics
“A New Methodology for Anticipating STEEP Surprises,” Technology Forecasting & Social Change (2011) “Research and Action Toward the Upside of Down,” Journal of Futures Studies (2011) “Living Resiliently in a Wild-Card World,” Noetic Now (2011) All can be downloaded from: OliverMarkley.com

10 Three Promising Applications of the New STEEP Surprise/Wild Card Typology
Conventional environmental scanning and monitoring of Type II items as they gain credibility in society (or not) Strategic guidance for citizen activist mobilization on Type II items A Citizens Clearinghouse for systematic sharing of proactive intelligence on Type II items by futurists, investigative journalists, citizen activist leaders, etc. OliverMarkley.com

11 1. Conventional Environmental Scanning and Monitoring
Source: Information and the Future: A Handbook of Sources and Strategies (Wygant & Markley,1988); based on “How to anticipate public-policy changes,” (Molitor, S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 1977).

12 2. Citizen Activist Strategizing For Mobilization
Source: Created by Tom Atlee for Democracy Now: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements, by Bill Moyer, et al (2001)

13 Graphic source: ShapingTomorrow.com
3. A Citizens Clearinghouse for Systematic Sharing of Proactive Intelligence Graphic source: ShapingTomorrow.com OliverMarkley.com

14 Outline Framing and communicating wild-cards (aka STEEP Surprises)
A long-range outlook on critical risks and disruptive change The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Risk Resilience Network (RRN) reports and activities Three TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes not considered by WEF/RRN Resilience as a key capacity Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Appendix: The original journal article clearinghouse proposal OliverMarkley.com

15 2. a. World Economic Forum/Risk Resilience Network Reports and Activities
OliverMarkley.com

16 WEF Now Moving Beyond Risk To Dynamic Resilience
From Risk to Opportunity: Building a Response to the New Reality (January, 2011) An initiative of WEF’s new Risk Resilience Network OliverMarkley.com

17 The World Economic Forum’s New Risk Resilience Network (RRN) www
The World Economic Forum’s New Risk Resilience Network (RRN) Introduced at the December, 2010 WEF Davos Conference Mission: To create a more resilient world by identifying and mitigating complex and interconnected global risks while identifying emerging opportunities By means of public/private collaboration among networked communities of C-Level executives, Chief Risk Officers, and leading professionals OliverMarkley.com

18 “About” the Risk Resilience Network
Online video intro to RNN by WEF COO, Kevin Steinberg at From Risk to Opportunity: Building a Response to the New Reality (January, 2011) Global Risks Meeting Report (April 2011 ) OliverMarkley.com

19 Source: Global Risks 2011 http://www.weforum.org/globalrisks2011
37 Global Risks in Five STEEP Domains (10 year time horizon) Identified by WEF/RRN Source: Global Risks 2011 OliverMarkley.com

20 All Risks Assessed Re: Estimated Probability and Magnitude of Impact
OliverMarkley.com

21 The Six Highest Rated Risks
OliverMarkley.com

22 Developed Risk Interconnections Can Be Explored Interactively Online

23 Three Highest Rated Clusters of Risk (Detailed on p 14-35 of the report)
Macro-economic Imbalances nexus Illegal economy nexus Water-food-energy nexus OliverMarkley.com

24 Outline Framing and communicating wild-cards (aka STEEP Surprises)
A ten-year outlook on critical risks and disruptive change The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Risk Resilience Network (RRN) reports and activities Three TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes not considered by WEF/RRN Resilience as a key capacity for times that are disruption-prone and uncertain Cooperative Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises OliverMarkley.com

25 2.b. Three “Type II STEEP Surprise” Themes Not Considered by WEF/RRN
Technocultural Optimism—Multiple scientific, technological and humanistic breakthroughs cascading toward new possibilities: (a) Massively scalable biotechnologies leading to sustainable bioenergy; b) Integrative technologies leading to “The Singularity“ and/or “Transhumanism”) Technocultural Transformism—Multiple system disruptions cascading toward socioeconomic disintegration and hopefully reform-based recovery: Insights from a) Panarchy Theory’s Cycle of Adaptation; b) The Upside of Down; and c) Other sources) Prophetic Transformism—Multiple impulses toward ascension of consciousness, I.e.., the 2012 meme: a) Secular viewpoints; b) A traditional Christian viewpoint; and c) Esoteric viewpoints. OliverMarkley.com

26 1. a) Biotechnology Breakthroughs for Massively Scalable Bioenergy
“A Strategy for American Innovation: Securing Our Economic Growth and Prosperity” (National Economic Council, Council of Economic Advisers, and Office of Science and Technology Policy, 2011) “Biotechnology: Toward a sustainable future” (Biomechanism.com, 2011) Renewable biological systems for alternative sustainable energy production (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Kazuhisa Miyamoto. Ed., 1997) “Photosynthesis or photovoltaics: which is better? (Robert E. Blankenship, et al, 2011). Summarized at ”http://www.rdmag.com/News/2011/05/Energy-Solar-Photosynthesis-or-photovoltaics-which-is-better/ OliverMarkley.com

27 1. b) Integrative Technologies Leading “The Singularity“ and/or “Transhumanism”
Wikipedia on Singularity-related topics The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (Ray Kurzweil, 2006)  Singularity University home page   Wikipedia on Transhumanism Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime (Aubrey D. N. J. De Grey, 2007) More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement (Ramez Naam, 2005) Transhumanist Society home page OliverMarkley.com

28 2. a) Panarchy & The Cycle of Adaptation: A “New Paradigm” Socio-Ecological Theory
Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems (Gunderson & Holling, 2001) The Resilience Alliance OliverMarkley.com

29 The Cycle of Adaptation from Panarchy Theory
Source: Panarchy OliverMarkley.com

30 Simplified Cycle of Adaptation from Panarchy Theory
OliverMarkley.com

31 Nested Cross-Scale Interactions
Source: Resilience and regions: building understanding of the metaphor” (Rolf Pendall, et al, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, (2009) OliverMarkley.com

32 2. b) The Upside of Down By Thomas Homer-Dixon (2006)
Includes a good summary of Panarchy Theory, the Cycle of Adaptation, and plausible cascading of system disintegration followed by cultural reformation. OliverMarkley.com

33 Homer-Dixon Quoting C.S. “Buzz” Holling
“…for a variety of well-established natural systems principles, [Holling] thinks that the world is reaching a stage of vulnerability that could trigger a rare and major ‘pulse' of social transformation. Humankind has experienced only three or four such pulses during its entire evolution, including the transition from hunter-gatherer communities to agricultural settlement, the industrial revolution, and the recent global communications revolution. Today another pulse is about to begin.” Source: OliverMarkley.com

34 2. c) Other Sources: A Type II “Tipping Point” Toward Epochal Change
Source: “Research and Action toward the Upside of Down” (Markley, 2011) OliverMarkley.com

35 After the Tipping Point: The “Great Bifurcation”
Source: “The collapse and transformation of our world“ (Taylor & Taylor, 2007) OliverMarkley.com

36 Will this be the Next Crisis to Hit?
After they predicted (in America’s Bubble Economy), the subprime loan meltdown two years in advance, David Wiedemer and colleagues (in Aftershock), now predict another fiscal meltdown within three years. (2005) (2010) OliverMarkley.com

37 A Short Video that Clarifies
4 min. of key clips from the 150 min., 3-part BBC documentary “The Love of Money” Posted athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1M7z90Azps OliverMarkley.com

38 Paraphrasing Alan Greenspan’s Comments in The Love of Money Clip
“The roots of this crisis are global and geopolitical. … If the subprime loan crisis had not been the trigger, it would have been something else.” “There will be more such crises…unless human nature changes.” OliverMarkley.com

39 Are We Doing Futures Research on the Titanic?
OliverMarkley.com

40 Recent Informed Views Worth Considering
“Prophets of Doom” (90 min. documentary, History Channel, 2011) “Are we entering a period of concatenated global crises?” (Daniel Biggs, et al, Ecology and Society, 2011) “Patterns of social unrest: Complexity, conflict, and catastrophe (John L. Casti, Album/Der Standard, 2011) “Complexity and collapse: Empires on the edge of chaos” (Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, 2010) “Overcoming systemic roadblocks to sustainability: The evolutionary redesign of worldviews, institutions, and technologies (Rachel Beddoe, et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010) ) “A civilizational tipping point (Lester R. Brown, 2009) OliverMarkley.com

41 3. The 2012 Meme Traditional Christian Viewpoint Esoteric Viewpoints
Secular Viewpoints WorldShift 2012: Making Green Business, New Politics & Higher Consciousness Work Together (Ervin Laszlo, 2009) A Vision for 2012: Planning for Extraordinary Change (John Petersen, 2008) Traditional Christian Viewpoint Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (N.T. Wright, 2008) Esoteric Viewpoints Make the World Go Away: The Gift of 2012 (Ruth Miller, 2011) Earth Changes and 2012: Messages from the Founders (Sal Rachele, 2008) OliverMarkley.com

42 Outline Framing and communicating wild-cards (aka STEEP Surprises)
A long-range outlook on critical risks and disruptive change The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Risk Resilience Network (RRN) reports and activities Three TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes not considered by WEF/RRN Resilience as a key capacity Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Appendix: The original journal article clearinghouse proposal OliverMarkley.com

43 Summary: Why Resilience Is Now a Critical Need
Why Resilience Now Profusion of STEEP Risks and forecasts of “Perfect Storm” of cascading disruption Uncertainty about which will hit first and when, but danger signs increasing ominously Proactive resilience improvement is the one positive thing to do regardless of which type of disruption will hit first or which alternative future will emerge OliverMarkley.com

44 What is Resilience? Is this Resilience in Action?
(p.s. add “debt” to his load) OliverMarkley.com

45 From Webster’s Online Dictionary
Resilience: An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change OliverMarkley.com

46 For example … Now what? OliverMarkley.com

47 Reactively Adaptive Resilience… Recovery back to “normal”
OliverMarkley.com

48 Transformatively Emergent Resilience… Recovery to a Better “New Normal”
Cartoon source: by Steven Wright, in Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, by Peggy Holman (2010) OliverMarkley.com

49 Proactively Dynamic Resilience… Preparing for Multiple Risks
Source: World Economic Foundation OliverMarkley.com

50 As Defined by the WEF/Risk Resilience Network
Dynamic Resilience: Is forward looking and proactive Forecasts alternative risk scenarios Monitors current trends and defines “trigger points” for active mitigation Involves “whole systems,” both before and after a risk has materialized OliverMarkley.com

51 Outline Framing and communicating wild-cards (aka STEEP Surprises)
A long-range outlook on critical risks and disruptive change The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Risk Resilience Network (RRN) reports and activities Three TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes not considered by WEF/RRN Resilience as a key capacity Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Appendix: The original journal article clearinghouse proposal OliverMarkley.com

52 (4) Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises
In light of the foregoing information, it should be obvious that new mechanisms are needed through which to bring attention to information on promising positive STEEP Surprises and resilience promotion, as well as intelligence information on disruptive change in general. In thinking about this possibility, a sequence involving at least two levels of complexity are useful to consider: Initially, much could be accomplished by having a relatively simple, easy to use clearinghouse that would collect, organize and disseminate ideas from various sources on STEEP surprises, and support a listserv through which they could be discussed. Academic futures programs interested could cooperate via an ongoing scanning assignment for their students responsive to an annual or semi-annual call for “Top Three” STEEP Surprises (both positive and negative) that would be compiled and summarized by the Clearinghouse. Other nonprofit entities could, of course, participate in this as well.  OliverMarkley.com

53 At a more advanced level, should there prove to be sufficient interest, much more could be accomplished. For context to this more advanced possibility, consider the emergence of the WEF Risk Resilience Network noted above. The proactive way it defines Dynamic Resilience (slide 52), should be a cause of joy for futurists because it signifies the active promulgation of basic futurist concepts to an elite cadre of leaders world wide. But understandably, this impressive undertaking does not focus on what are defined herein as TYPE II phenomena having high probability and expected impact, but currently low credibility. The WEF/RRN—also understandingly—focuses on the views and needs of economic powerbrokers, tending to ignore those of citizen activists who make up “the loyal opposition” points of view that are perhaps most critically needing to be supported at this time if there is to be a “soft landing” from the catastrophic TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes described in Section 2-b-2 above (beginning on Slide 30). OliverMarkley.com

54 Needed: A more advanced type of Cooperative Clearinghouse that could provide a counterbalance the vested-interest-orientation of the WEF/RRN by offering a practical way through which futurists of all types (both academic faculty and students, professional futurists, investigative journalists, etc.), could share, assess, and talk about scanning hits and other types of proactive intelligence information on TYPE II Risks & Opportunities as a supportive resource for resilience in all sectors and levels, but especially for forward-looking citizen activists. As noted in the original journal article-based proposal for such a clearinghouse (appended at the end of the white paper), Dr. Michael Jackson has generously volunteered to make his ShapingTommorow.com online engine for scanning/networking/planning/acting available without charge to nonprofits for such an activity. It is summarized on the next slide. OliverMarkley.com

55 Online Engine for a Citizens Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises
Graphic source: ShapingTomorrow.com OliverMarkley.com

56 Specific design questions next to be answered include:
How many academic futures programs are willing to commit to having an ongoing scanning assignment with yearly or semi-yearly submissions of priority hits, regardless of other design details yet to be determined? Should the assumed level of effort be based only on pro bono volunteering; or should external start up funding be sought to enable an ambitious outreach for the Center? If the latter, what funding sources might be tapped? If a consensus emerged about the importance of a complement to the WEF/RRN initiative, might one or more futures-oriented association (e.g., WFSF, APF, WFS/Professional, ODN), like to join Shaping Tomorrow, Inc. in co- sponsoring such a center? Depending on answers to above questions, how specifically should the target audience be specified? What types of media and presentation formats make most sense to design initially? OliverMarkley.com


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