Chessboard Interrobang / Burden of Dreams

At a recent event, I was allowed just one slide to present an approach to strategic foresight.

Here it is:

On the left is a chessboard, the setting for a game where all the moves are knowable in advance, and the winning and losing conditions clearly defined. It’s just a matter of which piece goes where and when within the constraints of the rules. (Not that it makes chess easy!).

On the right is an interrobang, an unusual punctuation mark which is intended for use at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question: Are you out of your mind!? Is this for real!?

To me, the point of manufacturing plausible futures when doing strategy work is more about the right hand side of the image than the left.

It’s not about identifying all the contingencies, or modelling all the ways you think the action could play out according to today’s rules.

It’s about showing you something which usefully pushes the bounds of what you believe is plausible; which uncovers issues previously unseen from your standpoint in the present, and makes you question yourself.

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