An antifragile evening

On Thursday evening I had the pleasure to listen to some great peers of mine Giorgio Pauletto, Sophie Huber, Adrijana Sehovac, Moustapha Kamal Gueye in Geneva talking about the importance and role of foresight.

A couple of the gems that came out included:

  • We face a series of vortexes (COVID, energy prices, food scarcity, Russia boycott…), and they will just keep coming. The problem then is, you may know where you were when you got sucked into the vortex, but you have no idea where you will get thrown out again, and what the landscape will look like – it may be radically different!
  • As such, an organisation in these times of “permacrisis” needs a compass not a map (the ground will just keep changing). This very much speaks to my experiences, and what we try to do by giving a few heuristics to work with, rather than ultra-detailed steps (Dave Snowden used to quote the US marine corps as having such clear instructions: “take the high ground, keep moving, and stay in touch…”)
  • To help decision makers “get it” you need them to feel an experience rather than just confronting them with facts. Have them walk through and touch the future!
  • We should not give up, even if we do not at first succeed in getting a hearing. Air Liquide is now investing billions in becoming a zero-carbon company – a decision certainly influenced by foresight.
  • You can be robust, or resilient. But even better, today you should become anti-fragile – positively drawing energy from each surprise, using it to identify new possibilities and leap forward: in part possible, as even if you did not anticipate the trigger of what would cause the change, you anticipated what could happen as a result.

All in all, a super session, and many thanks to Yves Chardonnens-Cook for the organisation, to Sabrina Cohen-Dumani of Nomads for making it happen, and to Irma Selvi for the great facilitation.

foresight-to-strategy, lively event