This cannot happen! This war is insane! What on earth are they trying to achieve? Outcries like these have been common since end of February. But unfortunately, Russia’s war against Ukraine is a fact. Another fact is that all the signs were there, including US intelligence predictions of the date when the invasion would start. But we could not interpret things correctly, mostly because the scenario of a war in Europe was so awkward. A tragedy is now unfolding before our eyes. But as decision makers, responsible for our organizations, we must make sense of the situation, cope with plausible tomorrows, and make decisions today.

 

SEEING PAST THE BIASES IS CRUCIAL IN SENSEMAKING

 

In real-time we see what is happening. Media, both traditional and social, report of different aspects. One challenge we have is that there are probably very few “objective” reports, all are looking at the situation through lenses, some intentionally stressing some aspects, some conveying wishful thinking, some pure propaganda etc. To understand why who is saying what is not an easy task.  And at the same time our perceptions and interpretations are very tweaked by our personal set of values.

 

DO YOU HAVE THE TOOLS TO MAKE SENSE OF THE SITUATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS?

 

The war in Ukraine was not more than days old when the first companies announced that they will withdraw from Russia. This was not based only on the sanctions imposed, but also on other considerations, including moral and ethical. Other decision might be less dramatic, but the situation is new, the playing field has tilted. Few organizations have scenarios and contingency plans for the situation with a war in Europe. These would be helpful to have, when making decisions in a new, and partly unknown situation. It is of utmost importance to start working on such plans now. Doing so, one must consider several plausible ways the war might unfold. Fortunately, there are tools and practices to support the planning process.

Lot of thinking power and energy is devoted to the immediate and acute challenges. The magnitude of the refugee tragedy is enormous. The anticipated recovery from the pandemic will be postponed.  The global financial system faces challenges etc.  At the same time, we already see that the war Russia has started has impacted other processes. Besides EU revamping unity and acceleration of discussions of NATO membership in Finland and Sweden, e.g. energy transition is not only a climate issue anymore, but also a security issue. And global sourcing and logistics are looked at in new ways. Recycling of especially rare earth metals will be looked at more intensively. A lot of issues emerge. Each organization face uncertainties that have not been on the radar screen before the war. It is beneficial to take a fresh look at the set of uncertainties impacting how the future context of the organization’s activities might unfold. Scenario planners are helpful doing this.

 

KEEP A COOL HEAD

 

Individuals are mostly very optimistic. Kahneman and Tversky made this evident in their seminal research. We are bad at dealing with unwanted futures. It is easier to condemn a war than dealing with the fact that there is a war and at least most medium-term consequences are challenging. Fortunately, structured scenario analysis is helpful. Analytical vigour can set personal feelings at rest for a while. The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, expressed himself along the same lines in his press release from March 3rd, 2022 “In the midst of an acute crisis, however, it is particularly important to keep a cool head and to assess with care the impact of past and possible future changes on our security – not hesitating, but with care”. For decades the scenario community has helped decision makers to keep a cool head while making sense of a senseless situation.

Making sense of the senseless – understanding implications of the war in Ukraine

This cannot happen! This war is insane! What on earth are they trying to achieve? Outcries like these have been common since end of February. But unfortunately, Russia’s war against Ukraine is a fact. Another fact is that all the signs were there, including US intelligence predictions of the date when the invasion would start. But we could not interpret things correctly, mostly because the scenario of a war in Europe was so awkward. A tragedy is now unfolding before our eyes. But as decision makers, responsible for our organizations, we must make sense of the situation, cope with plausible tomorrows, and make decisions today.

 

SEEING PAST THE BIASES IS CRUCIAL IN SENSEMAKING

 

In real-time we see what is happening. Media, both traditional and social, report of different aspects. One challenge we have is that there are probably very few “objective” reports, all are looking at the situation through lenses, some intentionally stressing some aspects, some conveying wishful thinking, some pure propaganda etc. To understand why who is saying what is not an easy task.  And at the same time our perceptions and interpretations are very tweaked by our personal set of values.

 

DO YOU HAVE THE TOOLS TO MAKE SENSE OF THE SITUATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS?

 

The war in Ukraine was not more than days old when the first companies announced that they will withdraw from Russia. This was not based only on the sanctions imposed, but also on other considerations, including moral and ethical. Other decision might be less dramatic, but the situation is new, the playing field has tilted. Few organizations have scenarios and contingency plans for the situation with a war in Europe. These would be helpful to have, when making decisions in a new, and partly unknown situation. It is of utmost importance to start working on such plans now. Doing so, one must consider several plausible ways the war might unfold. Fortunately, there are tools and practices to support the planning process.

Lot of thinking power and energy is devoted to the immediate and acute challenges. The magnitude of the refugee tragedy is enormous. The anticipated recovery from the pandemic will be postponed.  The global financial system faces challenges etc.  At the same time, we already see that the war Russia has started has impacted other processes. Besides EU revamping unity and acceleration of discussions of NATO membership in Finland and Sweden, e.g. energy transition is not only a climate issue anymore, but also a security issue. And global sourcing and logistics are looked at in new ways. Recycling of especially rare earth metals will be looked at more intensively. A lot of issues emerge. Each organization face uncertainties that have not been on the radar screen before the war. It is beneficial to take a fresh look at the set of uncertainties impacting how the future context of the organization’s activities might unfold. Scenario planners are helpful doing this.

 

KEEP A COOL HEAD

 

Individuals are mostly very optimistic. Kahneman and Tversky made this evident in their seminal research. We are bad at dealing with unwanted futures. It is easier to condemn a war than dealing with the fact that there is a war and at least most medium-term consequences are challenging. Fortunately, structured scenario analysis is helpful. Analytical vigour can set personal feelings at rest for a while. The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, expressed himself along the same lines in his press release from March 3rd, 2022 “In the midst of an acute crisis, however, it is particularly important to keep a cool head and to assess with care the impact of past and possible future changes on our security – not hesitating, but with care”. For decades the scenario community has helped decision makers to keep a cool head while making sense of a senseless situation.

How do we ensure a just, prosperous, and resilient Nigeria when it turns 100 in 2060?

This question underpins the Which Way Nigeria – Citizen Scenarios to 2060 (CS60) initiative with the aim of first creating scenarios for the country up to 2060 and then offering a roadmap towards achieving Nigerians’ desired path to the future. CS60 has retained Capful to facilitate the participatory scenario process, which engages civil society in exploring and debating the future of Africa’s powerhouse. 

“Which Way Nigeria – Citizen Scenarios to 2060 provides citizens the very rare opportunity to create the future that they want, not what officials and barons dictate. The initiative is also geared to spark the entire country to be the change and live the change to create the Nigeria that is a global player, not the hobbling giant of Africa.”

– Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Olamide Udoma-Ejorh, Bell Ihua, Chukwumerije Okereke, Odeh Friday, Oluseun Onigbinde, Aloysius Bongwa, Richard Dion
Citizen scenarios 2060: A necessary and hard look into the future

The citizen scenarios stem from the existential questions that Nigeria and its citizens have to ask. Topics such as energy transition, agriculture, urban and regional development, education, and health are pivotal to Africa’s largest economy. With Nigerian civil society organizations (CSOs) taking the lead, CS60 brings together leading local and international experts, whilst Capful brings its scenario expertise to the table. Capful’s Scenario Builder® helps create logical, plausible, and differentiated scenarios for Nigeria until 2060. The algorithm-based tool produces a set of initial scenarios that are illustrated in an interactive map. The map helps select logical and thought-provoking alternatives for further examination and brings out novel viewpoints that inspire futures thinking among participants involved in the scenario process.

Last week, CS60 completed its third workshop, with participants exploring the key drivers, uncertainties, and potential outcomes relating to Nigeria’s future and describing the country’s alternative futures. In addition to end-state descriptions, we will define storylines, cause-and-effect relationships, and quantifications of the scenarios to pave the way for further analysis on the implications of the scenarios for Nigeria.

After the scenario phase, CS60 moves on to outline a roadmap towards achieving the desired future Nigeria through a combination of leadership, policy reform, and investments. The roadmap, created by CSOs, will include intended milestones tied to the timeline and it will serve as the basis for actions needed to achieve a just, prosperous and resilient Nigeria that its citizens deserve.

“With its abundant resources and its population likely to hit 400 million by 2050, Nigeria holds immense future potential. Helping facilitate the scenario process that engages Nigeria’s civil society has been both demanding and meaningful.”

– Arto Kaunonen, Capful’s Founder and Senior Partner

Interested?

Contact us


Arto Kaunonen
Founding Partner
050 356 0717        
arto.kaunonen(at)capful.fi

Capful cooperates with Kemira in scenario work

Capful and Kemira have collaborated in scenario work with the aim to envision the future of water management by 2040.

What will the future of water management look like? Will citizens become more aware and activate around clean water topics? Will conflicts erupt because of water scarcity? Will megacities and global corporations take a more prominent role – also in water provision? How does digitalization impact the clean water value chain? What about regulation?

To understand what the future of water management might hold, an influential panel of water sector experts were invited to discuss different challenges, opportunities and possible paths ahead.

The “what if?” stories presented in this report can give food for thought for strategic discussions, inspire cooperation, technology development, and encourage new and innovative ways of thinking.

The decisions we make today about water access, quality, solutions for water treatment and water reuse impact the future living conditions of communities around the world. What will actually happen? No one knows. But it’s important to consider the possibilities.

Learn more about the “Water management 2040 -future scenarios” and download the report here.

Interested in scenario work?

Contact us!


Jari Puhakka
Senior Partner
040 562 2675
jari.puhakka(at)capful.fi