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Executive Summary for Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Executive Summary for Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises 1 Oliver.

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Presentation on theme: "Executive Summary for Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Executive Summary for Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises 1 Oliver."— Presentation transcript:

1 Executive Summary for Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Executive Summary for Toward a Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises 1 Oliver Markley, PhD Ver 2.0, August, 2011

2 OliverMarkley.com2 This is a PowerPoint white paper based on a revised set of visuals that were initially presented as “Risk Forecasting and Dynamic Resilience: Preparing to Thrive in Challenging Times,” to the Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society on June 21, 2011. The purpose here is to stimulate a co-creative dialogue about how best to implement the idea of a Clearinghouse for proactive ideas and information, especially what TYPE II Wild-Cards (aka STEEP Surprises)— defined as being critical high probability/high impact future events that currently have low credibility for most observers. The thrust of the proposed Clearinghouse would be to share scanning hits on recognized TYPE II phenomena of importance, together with related intelligence information on risks, opportunities, and strategic stakeholder activities as a key resource for promotion of proactively “dynamic” resilience in all sectors and levels, but especially for citizens, citizen activist networks, and NGOs, whose contributions are of vital importance if there is to be a successful cultural shift to socio-ecological sustainability. Thus, the revised term Citizens Clearinghouse may be a good title for purposes of branding. Your comments and feedback are invited.

3 OliverMarkley.com3 The outline of this presentation is as follows. Please note that the slides below are (keyed) to this outline. 1.Framing and communicating wild-cards (aka STEEP Surprises), a needed next step in applied futures research 2.A long-range outlook on critical risks and disruptive change a.The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Risk Resilience Network (RRN) reports and activities b.Three TYPE II STEEP Surprise themes not considered by WEF/RRN 3.Resilience as a key capacity for times that are disruption-prone and uncertain 4.A Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Appendix: The text of the original journal recommendation for a “Cooperative Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises.”

4 (1) My Publications Supporting This Work “ 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: disruptive-surprises-with-futures-research/ disruptive-surprises-with-futures-research/ OliverMarkley.com4

5 (1) A New Typology of Wild-Cards (aka STEEP Surprises) Useful for Monitoring and Foresight 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 (1) Three Promising Applications of the New STEEP Surprise/Wild Card Typology 1.Conventional environmental scanning, monitoring and forecasting of Type II items as their credibility in society evolves 2.Strategic guidance for citizen activist mobilization on Type II items 3.A Citizens Clearinghouse for systematic sharing of proactive intelligence on Type II items by futurists, investigative journalists, citizen activist leaders, etc. OliverMarkley.com6

7 (2.a) 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.com7

8 (2.a) “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.com8

9 (2.a) 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

10 (2.b) Three “Type II STEEP Surprise” Themes Not Considered by WEF/RRN 1.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”) 2.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) 3.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.com10

11 (2.b) Are We Doing Futures Research on the Titanic? OliverMarkley.com11

12 (2.b) 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) Social-Unrest-Complexity-Conflict-and-Catastrophe Social-Unrest-Complexity-Conflict-and-Catastrophe “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.com12

13 3. The 2012 Meme a) 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) b) Traditional Christian Viewpoint Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (N.T. Wright, 2008) c) 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.com13

14 Summary: Why Resilience Is Now a Critical Need 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.com14 (3) Why Resilience Now

15 (3) 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.com15

16 (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: 1.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.com16

17 OliverMarkley.com17 2.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).

18 OliverMarkley.com18 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 online engine for scanning/networking/planning/acting available without charge to nonprofits for such an activity. It is summarized on the next slide.

19 Online Engine for a Citizens Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises Online Engine for a Citizens Clearinghouse on STEEP Surprises OliverMarkley.com19 Graphic source:

20 OliverMarkley.com20 Specific design questions next to be answered include: 1.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? 2.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? 3.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? 4.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?

21 OliverMarkley.com21 The next step will be to determine the interest of academic programs in supporting this initiative, and in recruiting one or more young professionals interested in taking an active role in helping to make this possibility emerge as a productive reality. As for myself, health considerations now necessitate my taking an extended sabbatical from active futures research work. Thank you for considering this possibility and for whatever responses you care to give. Oliver Markley, Professor Emeritus and former Chair, Studies of the Future, Univ. Houston-Clear Lake Email: Mobile 512-964-6224 Skype: oliver.markley

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