Why young people find the future so fascinating

Education should reflect the reason young people are invested in the future.

Quite a few schools are now involved in our Growing Foxes programme. One line of comment made by several teachers is how enthusiastic young people are when debating the future; how good they are at identifying the flags to watch; how vivid they are at painting different scenarios; and how brilliant they can be at assessing the probabilities of various outcomes. In other words, the adults are blown away. Reportedly, the conversation sometimes gets so intense that the teacher plays the role of a facilitator in the background as opposed to a conductor in the foreground. This

Storytelling has taken a nasty turn

Storytelling on social media has taken a nasty turn.

It’s tempting to believe that social media reflects public sentiment. If there’s something Mark Zuckerberg’s recent appearance before US Congress has exposed, it’s that social media can in fact steer public sentiment. And that’s scary. The Facebook CEO was forced to testify before a House committee after a series of major scandals hit the social network. These included the spread of Russian propaganda on its platform, and the hoovering of up to 87 million users' data by data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. All this points to attempts - probably successful - to influence the outcome of the 2016

The long game of politics

Politics is a long game, and Trump just came up short.

Ask any career politician and they’ll agree: politics is a long game, it’s strategic, and it’s perfect for the feint-hearted. Surely we mean ‘faint-hearted’? No, someone who is faint of heart is hesitant or nervous. A ‘feint’ is a tactic cut from the cloth of sword-fighting. It is a deceptive manoeuvre that suggests an attack which then demands the opponent commit to a defensive counter-manoeuvre, thereby exposing them to another line of attack. In rugby, a side-step is a feint manoeuvre. If ‘strategy’ is direction and ‘tactics’ are how you’re going to get there, in politics,

Hailing Dots

Intelligence dots can be found in the most unlikely of sources.

Foxes make sense of the future by connecting dots - essentially diverse clusters of information or data - to develop scenarios (possible futures) that will give them a competitive advantage. The outcome is strategic intelligence. Leading scenario strategists Chantell Ilbury and Clem Sunter connect dots by speaking with thousands of people at business events around the world, and guiding the strategic conversations of hundreds of executive teams across dozens of different sectors. And they ask questions. Lots of questions. That makes sense - foxes are inquisitive. But where can young foxes find such information?

Will humans’ superiority be our downfall?

Humans are smart, apparently; the way they treat their fellow animals suggests otherwise.

The term "anthropocentrism" refers to the belief that human beings are the most significant entity in the universe and the primary holders of moral standing. It relates directly to another term, "speciesism", coined by animal rights advocate Richard D. Ryder in 1970, and popularised by Australian philosopher, Peter Singer, in his book, Animal Liberation. Speciesism is the assumption that human superiority entitles our species to exploit other 'inferior' animal species for human benefit, and to exclude them from the rights, freedoms and protections afforded to humans. The rationale behind this human supremacy/exceptionalism, is that our species is capable of cognitive functions

Another wake-up call: The myth that humans can mass-colonise another planet

It's the ultimate existential scenario: thinking the future beyond Earth.

Having considered the precarious state of our planet’s environment in my previous article, what are humanity’s options if we wreck the Earth and find ourselves racing against the clock to save our civilisation from extinction? Some options might include: 1. Retreat underground into a network of self-sufficient bunkers; 2. Migrate into huge isolation domes spread around the Earth’s surface; 3. Colonise a fleet of space stations orbiting the Earth; 4. Colonise the Moon; 5. Colonise Mars; or 6. Colonise an exoplanet (a planet outside our solar system).  

Options 1 and 2: Bunkers and domes

These two options are without doubt the simplest in terms of our

Face-off

Facebook is in more trouble than you think.

Critics of Silicon Valley have a saying: if you’re not paying for the product, you probably are the product. That became increasingly clear to the users of Facebook in the week starting 19th March. The news that Facebook unwittingly allowed the harvesting of personal data of more than 50 million users has dealt the company a brutal jolt. That announcement - the result of dogged investigative journalism - came with a more injurious disclosure: all this had happened between 2013 and 2015, with little in the way of admission from Facebook. What made matters worse was that the

Sticky wicket

It’s just not cricket to tamper with your balls.

As far as balls go, none commands as much awe as that used in a cricket test match. It is a mix of technical wizardry and traditional substance. At its most basic form it is a cork nucleus encased in layers of tightly-wound string, covered by a waterproof plastic casing, and a leather outer comprised of two halves sewn together. But at its heart it is so much more than that. In the hands of a skilled bowler, with an intimate knowledge of wear and tear, it can do wondrous things - ricochet, curve, swing, twist and turn. And

Clem Sunter interview: The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield

On 19th March 2018, Clem released his latest scenarios, flags and probabilities for South Africa. In brief, he said South Africa is yet again at a crossroads, and the path it takes will have serious consequences. On 22nd March Bruce Whitfield, host of The Money Show on Cape Talk and Talk Radio 702, invited Clem to explain them further. Clem also offered insight on the country's current leadership, and, importantly, what young leaders currently on the Growing Foxes course thought about the scenarios and South Africa's future. Click on the ‘play’ button below to listen to the interview. [If offered, select the ‘Listen in browser’ option. Wait a few seconds

Wake-up call: Environmental decline will be followed by human decline

All the environmental signs are pointing to an imminent human catastrophe.

Although environmental conquest has long been the hallmark of human expansion, it is only in the last 50 years that the rate of environmental decline has gone exponential. Traditionally a consequence of human activity alone, this decline is now being amplified by climate change and warming oceans. If left unchecked, the compound effect of these threats will push our planet's ecological equilibrium over a tipping point and devastate our civilisation in the process. This article looks at six key environmental indicators that put the current rate of environmental decline in perspective. They include: protected areas, coral reefs, forests, polar regions, insects, and biodiversity. Protected