Planning for the unthinkable

Peter Schwartz of GBN suggests there’s “a high likelihood” of a global food crisis due to commodity speculation and the potential for a bad rice season.

Schwartz, however, is quick to point out that he’s not stating unequivocally that there will be a food crisis. “Our goal is to do scenarios and look at the uncertainties and the elements that could surprise us … We’re not predicting a food crisis, but (saying) that we are vulnerable to it,” he told INSEAD Knowledge following a lecture on ‘Emerging Strategic Issues and Wildcards’ at Singapore’s Civil Service College.

So how can we better prepare ourselves from unpredictable ‘black swan’ events which would have a major impact? Schwartz believes the answer is to think the unthinkable. That involves considering possibilities that are outlandish, implausible but highly consequential. The Asian tsunami, he says, is a prime example of such a black swan event whose impact could have been reduced somewhat had the right questions been asked.

Insead: Planning for the unthinkable

(via Kristin Wolff)

1 Comment

  1. Hmmm, if the world’s human population suddenly dropped by half, I’m sure there would be no food crisis, among many other issues.
    One would hope for a smaller number as 3,468,000,000 is still a lot of people, but half is a step in the right direction.
    At some point people will realize progress stops being progressive.

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