Challenging assumptions, thinking ahead and managing surprise
On the one hand, 2025 is just around the corner while, on the other hand, it seems far, far away. In Part I of this publication, experts and associates from the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) paint a picture of possible futures in five areas by presenting scenarios that depict potential developments in the period up to 2025. The discussion will include suggestions on what can be done to prevent these scenarios from becoming a reality. In Part II, authors will make specific suggestions on how we can effectively respond to the peace and security environment out to 2025 by using appropriate leadership, crisis management and strategic foresight approaches.
What is clear is that the period between 2021 and 2025 will compel us to:
Challenge our assumptions: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to confront some of our most basic assumptions about how we live and work. In the future, given what is emerging as a result of the pandemic and the other factors shaping our world, we will have to be aware of our own biases and blind spots that prevent us from identifying the areas where the next major changes will occur and the weak signals that could indicate patterns of emerging change.
Think ahead: While 2025 is still a few years away, we should all be aware that change can happen very quickly. We may already be able to identify warning signs of possible negative future developments, and in response we must identify the factors we want to foster and the connections and partnerships we want to forge if these negative developments are to be effectively confronted and managed.
Manage surprise: The nature of the world that will emerge in 2025 is fundamentally unknown, but the one certainty is that surprises will undoubtedly continue to occur, so it is how we react to and manage these surprises that is also critical. Consequently, we need to be thinking about multiple possible futures and how we can constructively influence the immediate environment we find ourselves living in, no matter its nature.
We hope that you will be inspired by the scenarios laid out below, the constructive pathways to deal with these scenarios that are presented, and the effective responses suggested for ways to re-examine your own approaches to the peace and security environment, both today and out to 2025 – and beyond.