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What is this political in political

anticipation ? Political anticipation:


understanding trends and surfing them
Political anticipation is a method of trend analysis invented by the now deceased Franck
Biancheri (passed away on October 30th, 2012) along his 30 years of European political activity.
The way Franck Biancheri naturally integrated complexity to his mode of thinking, because he
was moving in the naturally complex European environment (linguistically, culturally,
institutionally, history-wise, etc...) led him to conceptualize the fact that no political action was
possible in complex systems without anticipation. He used to refer to the following image: when
driving a small boat, you decide to turn and you turn; when driving a super tanker, you decide
that you will have to be turning at that moment (anticipate) and you must start the move now
(act). However he also realized that when talking about anticipation, small moves taken long
enough before can result in significant achievements 5-10 years later... which is good news too.
Now the question is not only to know where you're going, but to take into proper account winds
and waves (as we said, minor moves lead to major differences 5 years later). This is why political
anticipation rests on three understandings :
. being clear about the goals (where you want to go and when you want to reach)
.understanding
trends
(winds,
streams
and
waves)
. identifying future-bearer moves to implement today (surfing the waves)
The first point is a matter of vision, the second really is anticipation, and the third is politics.
The difference from PA to forward studies is that it is active. Its not only trying to understand
the future and where we are going to but also where we are heading to next (the big trends) by
having a goal. And thats why its political and the name political in PA. At the beginning of the
training of FEFAP its made sure that it gets clear to give the word political a wider sense that
usually people interpret with the word political (public governmental domain). On the other side
in the business field the concept of policies or government is traditionally known as a political
word.
Using the image of a surfer or a sails boat on the sea helps us to understand whats political
about this sails boat. The sails man of the boat knows where he wants to go (to a specific harbor),
and he needs to understand which are the streams, the waves, the wind and also obstacles that
can appear, in order to reach his goal. Understanding wind streams of the situation and surfing
them, making the right decision: that is the aspect of PA decision making and knowing where
you are going.
Its the application of besides GEABs Frank Biancheris Anticipation of the impact of the Euro on
the social and political engineering of Europe as his goal:
1. At the beginning in 1985 his aim was to reach a democratic Europe. He felt that the
wind was positive that the whole trend went in this direction (economic).

2. Upcoming of the idea of the step sequences. Next obvious sequence of construction of
Europe was the political Union and in 1980s politics like Mitterand and Kohl started the
idea of working on European citizens and policies.
3. In 1999 collapse of the Berlin wall and the capitalistic and Anglo-Saxon vision of the
world. The last 20 years, the neoliberal economic project invaded completely Europe.
No politics, lobbysation, never ending enlargement of benefits. So in this period it was
impossible to advance in the democratization of Europe.
4. Patience is required, 1996 the Euro started. Thats when Franck Biancheri started seeing
a good wind / wave to surf and started saying that the euro will change completely
everything. Transform the project of European construction.
5. He was looking for upcoming winds to move the boat in the direction of democracy, and
the crisis was only interesting to him in the sense to help him to downgrade all this
capitalistic economic model and come back to the move of having political dimension
to the European project and the euro as a tool to integrate a group of countries with
high common interests and so that is really a good example of having a goal, the harbor
trying to do things even though the winds are adverse. And he always tried to surf
waves. And finally identifying the big waves to put the boat in the right direction.
The PA method, as a tool for decisions makers, was very ahead to his time, because the leaders
20 years ago didnt want a common political future. The political dimension of Europe was
limited to Anglo-Saxon interests. This means also, to democratize PA is the other story to
democratize Europe. Franck Biancheri and LEAP decided to present the method as a heavy
powerful tool to help people to empower themselves, in order that they can build their own
common goal. They can do as Franck Biancheri and LEAP decided and built their own future. It
could be interesting to describe the future of the use of PA to animate in Europe the political
debate among citizens to enlighten political debates. When citizens dont understand any more
where they are going to, they become extremely dangerous, as we are seeing today. Its a fact
that in certain theories of crossing, we are running high risks to go in the wrong direction. And
indeed PA is supposed also to provide a tool to manage and to reach a kind of understanding of
the situations besides the fact that in terms of hard crisis, indicators are not trust worthy any
more, politicians are not enlightening any more, media are out of subject and so what can a
citizen do, to maintain some kind of understanding of the situations and avoid going in the
direction of believing the first populist. PA is a matter of democracy.
PA applied on business and different sectors works similar: the global crisis is probably the
biggest system we can think off now, and a company is linked to the global happening but on a
smaller scale. Having enlightened workers and a capable leader is also necessary to run properly
a business.
There is some problematic in specific businesses or sectors for the application of the PA method:
For example in technology: partnerships between a company and some chosen technology
providers. There is a process to choose the technology provider, but what criteria is applied: you
can choose them by the products or by the quality of technology. Finally in all the cases the
companies are choosing the partners because of other and political reasons, not based on the
technological field at all. For example, partners are chosen because they are Americans and not

because of quality or the tool they provide. If you want to dig on this question you have to be
careful on who in the company is selecting the partners. The company by itself doesnt make
sense but the companies as customers, partners or provider - with the whole ecosystem. You
have to deal with who is taking decisions. The partnership is divided in special departments
involved in personal relations. A company itself is not enough. Between CEOs they decide to
do things together, so that social personal relations or other companies are engaged on this. It
may be because of political reasons and a lack of confidence in knowledge with Chinese vendors.
For example its very different and its understandable that western companies are not
understanding the way to make business with Chinese companies for instance. In this case its
not only a political reason but also a cultural one.
In PA the sources used are usually public like TV, newspaper, Internet, etc. In Business domain,
there are some specialized publications or papers with articles by the industry, but normally
there are few publications publicly available, professional expensive publications, and they are
not so read. Even by the peoples industry itself. That will give more details about a specific
market, but this publications will always have a politically correct message, you will never see
some kind of message that will go against the authorized mindset, for instance in many countries
its a matter of facts that corruptions is a main factor of decision for business and particularly
linked with the public projects. People engaged in the business will take into account this
element because its a reality but you will never see a complete work or analysis about this
corruption because its absolutely forbidden. So you have to know that its a trend that will give
a direction to the market, with cultural factors, economic trends, etc.
The relevance for decision makers has less impact in the decision making. The topic to build a
PA based on articles in business can use the same method but with different writing depending
on the size of the company, different parameters not taken into account in PA, size of the
business, size of the country,etc.. In France in business if you compare companies with 500 or
5000 people theres a great difference because the structures insight the companies are more
complex. The decision making process is different.
There are some topics which imply to decide not to be managed with PA, because it can be
considered that theres some kind of black box, or the decisions are made by few people, so we
are not able to know exactly what they are going to decide upon of what factor of decision.
When the first unexpected event comes, you have a whole system that gets organized around
this indicators, reactions we can compare this black box with the situation that you are in a
tunnel and the GPS will only imagine where you are going. Thats why its difficult to anticipate
further events or upcoming events, but still its interesting to work in the general direction, and
of course it becomes difficult to date things, to see how long the system will manage to heal the
system, its like a car entering in a tunnel and the GPS just imagine where the car is. Thats the
idea of a black box. Theres still work to do.