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Uncertain Futures

Athena @ ST 11 September 2018

As we move towards 2019, here are Athena's takes on the opportunities and risks emerging from current uncertainties. Consider this list and the associated graphics in your future planning and respond accordingly. Or contact us to use our collaborative digital thinking tools to develop a robust and agile strategy in double-quick time.
What is changing?









encouraging uk growth stats





Do contact us to see how we can help you track emerging uncertainty issues and developments as they are announced or reported.

Sentiment analysis

The global bull market continues with little sign of uncertainties shaking the faith of traders, investors and other economic decision-makers. The uncertainty in May, caused by fears of a U.S./North Korea war quickly dissipated.

Pie charts
Athena thinks the tipping point for many of the emerging uncertainties is still a generation away. However, as was seen in the list above there are many pressing uncertainties which remain unresolved. We recommend creating alternative scenarios to develop agile and robust responses.

The big uncertainties surround future trade and its impact on global economies, investment and growth.

Athena calculates that tourism & hospitality and healthcare are the sectors forecasted to have the highest future uncertainty. Automotive and energy also stand out.

By 2023, Athena suggests markets will be under pressure to find revenue and government and the energy and healthcare sector will be entering a period of significant disruption.

Heat Map
The heat map highlights which sectors and topics show the most uncertainty. Since we are evaluating uncertainties the chart shows no high areas of concern. However, the most uncertain regions are North America and Europe and in terms of sectors, energy, financial services and government.

Uncertainties abound bit not in Africa, parts of South America, the Baltics or Greenland. The key uncertainties at a country level are in the United States, India, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. If you do business in these countries then again we recommend a scenario planning exercise.

The tables below show Brexit and the UK's new relationship with the EU as a key current uncertainty, as is Donald Trump's leadership of the United States.

Athena used the sources below as the top ones to create this report and determined which embedded forecasts are included in this Trend Alert. She found 2,541 forecasts in seconds on the11th September 2018 to allow us to publish this summary in less than an hour. She can turn these into PowerPoint slides and Audio files in minutes too as you wish, or we can prepare a full customized and professionally written brief for you to order covering all 2,541 forecasts. You can also use these forecasts in collaborative workshops to develop your strategic responses in hours rather than the weeks and months of traditional foresight projects.


Athena does show duplicates to aid your understanding of themes as well as contradictory forecasts. She may also show near-duplicates. You can speed read past the duplicates and near-duplicates if you wish, though the latter may show additional information. You can use the contradictory, and likely uncertain forecasts she finds to imagine different scenarios. The future is unpredictable, but we can examine the possibilities and choose our preferable future from the choices she presents.

Athena is apolitical. She will report forecasts from different viewpoints however distasteful that might be to our own values. Wearing rose-colored glasses is not her purpose; reporting potential futures is. So, we recommend you check her veracity before responding to her extracted forecasts.

Just like humans, Athena can be fallible. Do recognize that you and your associates are biased too. But whereas you tire, make mistakes and only recognize what interests you, she does not. She might miss or misinterpret as you do, but with far less frequency and she'll take uncomfortable truths and alternative ideas in her stride. But, please let us know if you feel her bias can be reduced. We want to do our best for you. And, as with any research, you should check and triangulate her findings for yourself.

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