A conference in Kiev

by Adrian

The local lore claims that St Andrew planted a stick in the ground on this hillside and declared that one day a city would grow here. Kiev is the result, and St Andrew’s church is built on the spot. The location of the annual event I just ran was directly across from here, and large enough to accommodate the 330 participants, in what was a combination of learning through play, team building and information exchange. All went well thanks to the tremendous help from the client team on the spot!

8th International Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning Symposium

by Adrian

The International Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning Symposium (IRAHSS) in Singapore is always a highpoint in the agenda for those trying to make sense of the future. Once again a super line-up, with some extremely interesting insights, ranging from the impact of technologies that are currently just below the horizon, through the hidden impact of migration and the state of (de)globalisation.

My only caveat, the dominance of (mostly male) speakers from the developed Eurasian and North American countries. Thanks to the whole team!


La migration à la Corne d’Afrique


Je viens de rentrer de Djibouti, ou j’ai animé l’atelier de cadrage pour la deuxième phase du projet Better Migration Management de l’Union Européenne. Etant un part essentiel du Khartoum Process, le programme vise à l’amélioration de la gestion des réfugiées dans la région, et notamment de soutenir les personnes dans le besoin et de lutter contre la traite des êtres humains.

C’est toujours très inspirant de travailler avec une multitude des experts et d’avoir, dans la même salle, des policiers, des activistes, des organisations de la société civile et de la coopération internationale, des délégués des ministères et des chefs des gouvernements locaux.

Ce que je n’avais pas su avant : C’est que 80% de la migration en Afrique est de la migration interne, c’est-à-dire que juste 20% des migrants africains s’orientent vers l’étranger, alors l’UE, mais aussi vers l’Arabie Saoudite. Pour Djibouti il est devenu claire ce qu’il faut supporter les supporteurs des migrants dans le besoin, mais aussi la population locale dans les zones éloignés, qui, aussi, nécessite de l’infrastructure de base comme des points d’eau. Et, bien sûr, a priori il fallait un changement dans les relations économiques vis-à-vis l’Afrique.

New team, additional tasks

by Adrian

Last week was spent on Organisational Development work for a client that has just received additional tasks, and new personnel – and correspondingly needs to review internal roles and procedures.

As part of this, there was a retreat in Landgut Stober. This had once been a “model farm” where an anti-Hitler group met to plan for a “better world” once he was gone. Our task was not so secretive, but nevertheless challenging, given the ambition of the client is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy i.) in selected emerging markets and ii.) for displaced people.

Union for the Mediterreanean Business Forum in Cairo

by Adrian

It was a pleasure to return again to Cairo, and to have the chance to work with my dear friend to co-moderate the ‘s first “Business Forum”. The speakers and organisers were excellent, and a real highlight for me (perhaps also as I could just relax and listen to that bit of the session as Leena moderated 😉) was to hear how entrepreneurs in the East and South of the Mediterranean are using e-commerce to beat entirely new paths to trade (and more). Certainly my congratulations to Roula Moussa, who now runs two super interesting ventures!

Keine Dystopie. Aber.

by Jonathan

Mit GRM legt Sibylle Berg einen Roman vor, der einen Blick auf eine nicht sehr ferne Zukunft in Großbritannien irgendwann nach dem Brexit wirft und die Gemüter von jungen, abgehängten Menschen einfängt. Diese setzen sich mit einer Welt auseinander, die durch einen entfesselten Liberalismus/ Kapitalismus in Verbindung mit einer lückenlosen digitalen Erfassung und Verarbeitung menschlichen Handelns gekennzeichnet ist. Grundeinkommen gegen Totalüberwachung und immer mehr Menschen, die keine Funktion mehr in der Gesellschaft haben, während die KI ein Eigenleben zu entwickeln scheint.

Der Roman ist hart (Untertitel: „Brainfuck“) und zärtlich zugleich und setzt gegenwärtige Konsummuster in eine interessante Perspektive, indem diese extrapoliert werden. In jedem Fall eine gewinnbringende Lektüre! Weitere Rezensionen hier und hier. Homepage der Autorin hier (von dort stammt auch das Bild).


Liquid Reign – Inspiring Fiction on Future

by Jonathan

 A most inspiring piece on a possible future! I strongly recommend reading this book by Tim Reutemann, who summarizes his work as follows:

Liquid Reign is a work of speculative fiction, imagineering a fairly liveable future in 2051, neither dys- nor utopian. Melting the boundaries between science and fiction into a novel format, each chapter provides links to the sources of inspiration influencing it – ranging from Jean Jacques Rousseau‘s social contract of 1762 to blockchain startups from 2018.”

Golden Tourism?

by Adrian and Jonathan

We just ran a 2-day event for GIZ in Kachreti, Georgia, where participants from all 3 Southern Caucuses countries developed sustainable cross-border touristic products. Gold was a theme, as we

    1. Learnt of a trove of archaeological findings showing the region as a cradle of civilisation which then gave rise to the golden fleece myth;
    2. Discussed the Midas touch: bringing tourists to unspoilt villages, makes them richer. But some use the money to build concrete horrors…
    3. Realised that the boom of tourists from Germany is driven by the golden agers (retirees), and there is a need to reach other target groups;
    4. Enjoyed dinner in a super restaurant and winery in Sighnagi, named after the owner Okro(shvili). And guess what, Okro means gold…
    5. Had fantastic participants from the region and beyond (e.g. Albania, Germany, USA), whose contributions were worth their weight in gold!

Global X Network Annual Meeting in Vienna

by Adrian

At this year’s Global X meeting, I was particularly struck by the discussions around Artificial Intelligence and platform economics with the likely enormous impact on all industries. If we can manage to create the platforms correctly, they will not just severely disrupt value chains but also be greener than before.

Also of note was the discussion around uncaptured GDP and the era of abundance: two notions which fundamentally challenge the classical economic models I grew up with, and that neatly complete the (much better covered) field of externalities. After all, it is not just that our national accounts fail to capture the costs of polluted air and depleted natural stocks, but also, they fail to include much of the “value” generated in (especially through) services according to the research presented.

In any case thanks to all contributors and participants for a fascinating time, and great to hear the inputs of Europeans, US Americans, Canadians, South Americans and Asians in such an intimate format! Also thanks to Brenda Fox, Leena Ilmola and John Casti for organising the whole thing in Vienna.

Role-Playing Competitors

by Adrian

Just been helping a client to role-play a major competitor, and consequently refine their strategy.  A number of interesting insights emerged – a combination of bringing many perspectives together, and breathing life into the business intelligence already gathered.

Particularly of note though, was that the existing strategy (which we already developed with the client two years back) remained valid in most parts, so this served to ensure the strategy remained a living process.

Modelling Climate Change: Electricity


Just moderated a mini-workshop on electricity supply for the European Calculator project, as part of the out-reach to co-design a model that will help decision makers judge the impact of different policy levers when trying to reach the Paris Agreement commitments on climate change.

Particularly interesting to me was the bullishness of what was considered possible when it comes to balancing energy supply when demand suddenly peaks/renewable energy supply suddenly drops. Many seemed to believe that – relatively soon – a combination of battery/energy storage options (central and decentral), combined with demand management (paying e.g. large factories to turn down the dial immediately), smart,  local, grids and devices (that use electricity only when it is readily available) and trans-European grids (allowing immediate cross-border import) will substantially reduce – or even eliminate! The need for gas powered generation (the part of the energy supply that is not baseload, and can quickly be turned on or off).

Modelling Climate Change: Social Impact

by Adrian

In beautiful Delft to run a workshop on possible social impact of alternative Climate Change Mitigation options! Some things are obvious – no coal means unemployment in coal producing regions –  but now we need to tease out the less obvious implications for anything from gender equality to energy poverty…  Thanks EU Calc!