A New Methodology for Anticipating STEEP Surprises

Abstract

In technological forecasting and futures research on social change, the term wild card (a.k.a. disruptor or STEEP surprise), traditionally refers to a plausible future event that is estimated to have low probability but high impact should it occur. This article introduces: A Type II Wild Card, defined as having high probability and high impact as seen by experts if present trends continue, but low credibility for non-expert stakeholders of importance. A four-level typology of wild cards, leading to a systematic methodology for monitoring the emerging awareness and credibility of high probability disruptors and for assessment of stakeholder-specific views about them. An informal pilot test of the methodology both indicated that the approach has practical value, and highlighted the importance of highly plausible tipping points which could rapidly lead to massive disruption, either toward collapse or reformation in the complex adaptive systems (CAS) making up human civilization.

 

A New Methodology for Anticipating STEEP Surprises

Topic
Environmental Scanning and Trend Analysis

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