How would you have to navigate the changing world? Wouldn’t you wish that there was a way to help think about the present and identify possible disruptions, or at least, to prepare for unpleasant outcomes?

There is a way, at least, for the things you at least have some ideas about.

There is scenario planning, a 70+ year old conceptual framework, that helps you think through the assumptions you are thinking of today, and what might happen if the assumption changed direction.

Scenario planning — as the whole thing is called, is an involved way to think about an important…


I was just reading this article from the Economist, and I am beginning to have a sense of what Hong Kong’s endgame would be. This is the article: “China is not just shackling Hong Kong, it is remaking it.”

It would continue to be the meeting place for China and the world when it comes to finance. While socially, a China-guided legislative process might aim to create a more equally-distributed Hong Kong, where housing and other issues might become less pressing. China might eventually want to, as the article mentions, “dilute the influence of the property tycoons.” …


I just finished Walter Isaacson’s profile of Jennifer Doudna and the CRISPR/Cas9 discovery in “The Code Breaker,” and Cade Metz’s profile of the deep learning field in “The Genius Makers.” These are excellent books to read about the science and the people behind the incredible innovations that we see and will continue to go with us. But this is not about the implications of the research per se.

I was rather struck by how there’s such a winding path in the discovery process and in the innovation process. By the discovery process, I mean, the structure of scientific research and…


A bunch of changes happened with SPH — the conglomerate that used to manage the main news outlets in Singapore.

I’m not going to add to the commentary with my own commentary; rather I thought that the issues hinged on whether government was going to maintain its own control and whether the media companies can find alternative business plan for their own companies. This is not just about SPH or Mediacorp; this is about the nature of media businesses in Singapore.

I was wondering how much and how far Singapore’s media businesses could go in deepen and broaden their coverage…


Global Trends 2040 (GT2040) is the latest in a series of scenarios studies by the National Intelligence Council, a thinktank that advises the intelligence community in the United States — that consists of the various intelligence-related organisations. This is a massive undertaking. The folks at this National Intelligence Council or NIC, go around the world, asking for the opinions of senior leaders in other countries, on their views of the US, other emerging powers, and about their own region.

They go then take their studies and findings and create scenarios, and I would also believe, they would provide findings for…


Geopolitics X Supply Chains X Business

The Atlantic Council has a “Transatlantic blueprint for strategic competition” — this time its about the countries in the Atlantic Council — basically a think tank with former policy makers from both sides of the north Atlantic. This comes as China wants to engage with the EU, and talks about the EU being more geopolitically independent. But then, the EU is engaging with the Quad, and so China finds ways to engage with non-EU European countries.

I might have mentioned this before, but this Quad initiative on supply chains could be important. …


Decarbonisation

Saudi Arabia bets on hydrogen. Honestly, it’s just a start. But it says a lot where things are going.

China is off to a slow start on climate. It says it wants to go net-zero by 2060, but it looks like they are going to rely on coal for a long time…

This Bloomberg piece says for Japan to go net-zero, it needs its nuclear energy plants. It’s not just a technical issue, it’s obviously a socio-political issue.

Financial Times is doing a series on the hydrogen economy.


Singapore faces multiple large developments that are unfolding in roughly the same period of time — through the 2020s and into the 2040s. They are, in no particular order: geopolitical contestation, climate crisis, technological changes, and our own ageing population.

Preliminaries

Geopolitical Contestation

There is the geopolitical contestation, as major powers try to influence the world in ways amenable to their interests. China, the US and the European Union are the three main powers that have influence over large domains of life — security and economic considerations. The UK, Japan and India are influential actors but perhaps in a regional sense. …


China

China’s Two Sessions — the most important event on the calendar. A lot of places will be saying important things about it, but for now, the focus on technology is intense.

This work on rising political stars in China is also very cool in looking at who are the figures to watch.

Good-Old Fashioned Geopolitics

Ryan Hass breaks down why China is not “ten-feet tall”. China has its own challenges too, just that it conceals them better.

The Central and Eastern Europe — China (17 + 1) meeting will probably change as the CEE countries are disappointed at China not delivering economic promises


Decarbonisation is not an easy thing, but it is conceptually easy to grasp. It means systematically, going through industries and activities, and figuring out how to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions.

For the power sector, decarbonisation is conceptually ‘easy’ — in the sense of, reduce the most carbon intensive fuels, and where possible, adopt non-carbon alternatives. From coal, to oil, to gas. And then go to solar/wind/nuclear. Yes, the process is painful, requiring all kinds of policy change and subsidy shift, but in the end, the power system is decarbonised.

The next step could be a bunch of things. Swap…

Scalable Analysis

Looking at ideas, systems, organizations and interactions.

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