A pandemic predicted as a high probability event in 2020

I think this was published in 2014. Click on this link to download a high resolution image.


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One of the best bar charts of all time

The Covid-19 line is dreadful, but I actually think the suicide line is worse in some senses.

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A Corona Chronology (the movie)

The movie….
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A Corona Chronology

A Corona Chronology (desired)

A timeline for Corona (Covid-19). I must stress that this is not what I think will happen, but rather what I would like to happen. And it will happen if enough people wish it so.

One axis is time. The other is empowerment (+/-), although I suppose it could also be an optimism/pessimism axis. The running order is; the great fear, the great lockdown, the great
retreat, the great slowdown, the great loosening, the great reconnection, the great realisation, the great rebellion, the great rebirth, and the great regeneration.

Spin offs are the great alone, the great stillness, the great simplification, the great silence, the great rewilding and the great escape.

Where did this come from? The writer Aifric Campbell mentioned a “loosening” to me. I then watched The Great Realisation by the poet Tomos Roberts and then I listened to a talk online by a colour forecaster called Anna Starmer. All these streams met in my subconscious last night and hey presto, quite a good doodle. Why on a wall? Why not. Big ideas need big spaces..

The writing is on the wall.


Maybe we need some colour?

BTW, one thing one might add would be The Great Depression, but hopefully not. I’d also think of adding Rise of the Humans somewhere too. Always remember, the future will be whatever enough people want it to be.

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Present Tense

Be right here, right now

Rather a lovely review about what I’m up to nowadays. From QZ.com in the US. Read here.

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Corona is not a Black Swan Event

Bank scenarios from 2005

There is a narrative slowly emerging that Corona (Covid-19) is a true Black swan event. For example, according to Fred Cleary, a portfolio manager at Pegasus Capital, quoted in the FT’s excellent Long View Column, “Covid-19 is a black swan”. I could be wrong, but from recollection of reading the book, a Black Swan event is something that people cannot possibly imagine and therefore cannot possibly predict.

9/11 was a Black Swan event. Corona virus is not. In scenario-speak it is a wild card event that breaks all scenarios, but this is most definately not something that has not been foreseen. I worked with an Australian bank back in 2005 and a pandemic was on the table so to speak. It was one of the main topics of a UK government risk workshop in 2015 (by main topic I mean it was one of the events considered most probable (when not if as they say), it featured in some strategic trends work with the UK Ministry of Defence too (again, as a strategic shock), in some library scenarios, some work for KPMG and finally some disruption cards created with Imperial College.

The problem, of course, is not predicting, forecasting or foreseeing, but in assigning probability to such events or ideas. If the probability is widely considered to be low it will be largely ignored. It also touches on not what, but whom, in the sense of who gets listened to, why and when. BTW, is this is all a bit doom and gloom, my view is that the current pandemic is quite mild in terms of mortality. This too will pass, although next time we may not be so lucky.

From the Bookends Scenarios (PLNSW) 2010
KPMG cards circa 2012
Imperial Disruption cards 2018 – note linkages between cards
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Quote of the week

“No plan of operations reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main force” (Helmuth von Moltke, Prussina military commander, 1880).

Or another version….

“Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth” (Mike Tyson, former World Heavyweight boxing champion).

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The scream (redux)

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No touching

Is this the future?

OK, two scenarios in light of Coronavirus and the current outbreak of anxiety.

Scenario one: Social distancing becomes the norm. People avoid people.
People don’t trust people. People trust machines and prefer their company. A
society-wide deletion of the human interface (currently to be seen emerging in
banks and supermarkets across the UK and elsewhere). People work from home,
consume at home and essentially keep their mental front doors closed to things
they don’t like. Contact with nature is lost, so too is curiosity about other
people. The triumph of the digitally empowered individual.

Scenario two: Self isolation turns out to be a blessing disguised in a face
mask. People re-discover the joys of solitude. The cult of productivity and
competitive busyness is called into question. People find joy in simple things.                People slowly realise they need other people. People question what makes them truly happy and it turns out the answer is other people and especially helping strangers. There is an outbreak of empathy and kindness and a societal shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’. Civic responsibility and societal good trumps individual rights and freedoms.


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