The list of unknown unknowns over recent years has been formidable. There have been natural disasters, for example, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the 2010 eruption of the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and the tragic 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We have seen steep technological shifts, from hydraulic fracturing and unconventional gas, to geopolitical developments such as the Arab Spring movement. Economic twists and turns have caused some angst, whether talking about the Great Recession, the financial instability in the eurozone, the looming debt crisis in the G-7 countries, or the "flash crash" on Wall Street. And social movements have not gone away, notable in the worldwide Occupy demonstrations.
These and many other high-impact events certainly attest to the importance of integrating black-swan analysis into the planning process. Delineating global trends, as complex as they are, is simply no longer enough. In today’s environment of sweeping and disruptive change, assessing such wildcard events is a must.
Our global radar service helps clients meet this pressing need. As the name suggests, the purpose is to detect faint signals of developments or trends that are hidden or disguised. It is an early-warning system used to either exploit emerging opportunities or to mitigate risks. We do this by systematically mapping risks to identify low-probability but high-impact events that are nothing less than game-changers―disruptive, beyond the control of institutions, and rapidly moving.
The GBPC has developed a methodology to identify, classify, filter, and pursue risk categories as part of this initiative. Using a framework of key drivers of the global business environment, our team monitors a broad set of issues and then filters these issues by greatest strategic importance to our clients. Once critical risks are identified, we develop briefs on topics of particular relevance, including highlighting the underlying dynamics and drivers behind each one. Our clients receive a range of possible scenarios and potential trigger points that will shift the trajectory from the most to least likely scenarios; we prioritize potential responses based on likelihood and impact. Every step along the way, a global network of experts is on hand to continually provide insights and critique the results.
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