Reading: Shell Global Scenarios to 2025

Loaned to me from a strategic thinking friend, Shell Global Scenarios is a hefty, yet easy to read analysis of really big (mega-) trends over the 15 year time horizon.

There is lots to think about; their three forces (market incentives, community, coercion/regulation) and how there are “two wins, one loss” out of the choices.

In similar quadrants, there are three objectives of societies (efficiency, social cohesion, security). Again the same choice matrix appears to describe a society. From forces and objectives appear Open Door, Flags and Low-trust Globalisation groupings. All of this MBA-level pretty pictures and frameworks leads down interesting paths, and coming from Shell there is a consideration of energy needs; however this is not the primary focus.

On page 120 (section 6f) the power of “Netizens” is detailed. A case example of Chinese regulations changing based on internet-based activism. The recent anti-Japanese sentiment, a negative rather than positive outcome, sourced from netizens in China is shown.

Most telling is a quotation from Izumi Aizo of the Institute of Hypernetwork Society in Tokyo:

“Mobile technology is a source of fundamental change – meaning the capacity to be connected whenever and whereever. This enables people to act immediately, either politically or socially. It is still too early to indentity the full consequences of this phenomenon, but it can be a major source of changes in the relation of people to each other. It already has a major impact on Islamic counties like Iran, Afghanistan and others.”

The same pull-out details a summary of what we netizens are in the midst of right now, and I will paraphrase: the struggle for information power. The old institutions wish to put the internet genie back into its bottle, to regain the power. Filtering, File-sharing, patents and copyrights battles are proxies skirmishes in a much larger, cultural war.

A possible governing principle will be self-regulation, with bottom-up standard setting.