The Wikistrat team and I are proud and excited to offer a sample "CoreGap Bulletin" to give you a sense of the doorway we're offering into the Wikistrat globalization model--or a "taster" as my new Australian colleagues put it. It's designed to cover the week's leading indicators on globalization's advance/retreat and provide you paths right into our model of its progression, laid out as a universe of scenario pages hyperlinked to one another and supporting analyses from Wikistrat. So when you come across something that really pops your mind open to some possibilities, you're then able to proceed right to the relevant scenario pages to dive deeper into the possibilities, shape them yourself with editing, or go one step further and generate your own competing scenario pathway.
That's the essential human-capacity building aspect here: don't just read the news as it's cranked out at you, but process it systematically by exploring its system/state/individual-level consequences. Run your thinking to ground, as it were, and, by doing so, start building or maintaining your own strategic muscle mass.
Let me give you a tour of the sample bulletin, which I wrote in its entirety even as it's our near-term goal to start bringing in additional deep thinkers to the pool.
First off there's a 600-word-range, op-ed grade piece we call "Terra Incognita." It's designed to get you excited and read into something we think constitutes new ground for globalization, meaning a potential game changing pivot in its pathway. The sample bulletin covers China's presumptive new president come 2012, Xi Jinping.
Right off the bat here, you get a sense of what you're going to be able to do with Wikistrat. Check out the "Wiki-It" bar on the right: A host of linkages to relevant scenario pages that allow you to engage the story far more deeply.
The general template here and examples from the column:
- Special Strategic Issues: Chimerica--US-China relationship and Chinese Decision Making Calculus
- Global Trends: Leadership changes in key countries
- The Four Flows (from The Pentagon's New Map): here we highlight investment, people and energy
- Global Shifts (from Great Powers): here we focus on The Consumption Shift and The Governance Shift
- Strategic Profiles: China Strategic Profile and United States Strategic Profile
- Regional Net Assessments: Asia Net Assessment
- Global Net Assessment.
Next up are a series of five more structured analytic pieces (400-500 words each) that we think give you Globalization's Future in Today's Headlines. Each comes with a basic description, then a good dose of Analysis followed by Outlook, and then a series of Bottom Lines (Dependencies, Risks, Opportunities and Recommendations). As with the opening piece, you'll see a Wiki-It bar on the right that gives you access to a set of relevant scenario clusters.
In the sample piece we cover the following:
- PM Angela Merkel's argument against multiculturalism in Germany (giving you some much needed contrast with Stratfor's the-Nazis-are-coming shtick)
- The latest Wikileak dump on Iraq
- Geithner's failed effort to gain consensus on a rebalancing scheme (complete with hard targets) at the pre-summit G20 ministerial
- How Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai's ban on private security firms put the US "civilian surge" at risk
- China National Offshore Oil Company's buy into a major U.S. oil & gas shale field deep in the heart of Texas!
After that sequence, we give you six additional but shorter analytic pieces (roughly 200 words) that we think capture key integrating trends/events WRT globalization. We call them "Six Degrees of Integration."
The six we cover in the sample are:
- E-commerce taking off in China
- The World Bank extending its emergency food program
- The explosion in small robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles coming out of the Long War
- China's executive MBA program in Africa
- The British decision to whack their defense budget big time
- The potential for Sudan's upcoming divorce to pit the U.S. and China against one another--or not.
The concluding entry to the bulletin is a significant essay (The Deeper Dive) that runs in the long op-ed range of about 1200 words. It's meant to collect up all our thinking from the previous entries and give you some globalization theme to hang them on in your head. The sample bulletin's entry is summed up by the acronym D.Y.O.C.--as in, Develop Your Own Counterparty. In a frontier-integrating age, you cannot wait on the locals to develop their own ability to provide you with sufficient counterparties for dealmaking. Better to simply bring them into being on your own, through education, training, military-to-military cooperation--however.
Well, that's the sample bulletin. Please give it a read and tell us what you think. It's designed to provide you with long-range thinking on globalization, eschewing the usual OMYGOD! responses you get in the mass media. But it's also designed to pull you into the Wikistrat universe so you can make strategic thinking a part of your workday toolkit. Wikistrat should become the place you deep dive whenever you're looking for that angle for the story/paper/report you're working on and you just don't feel like you know enough on the potential pathways to pull out your own scenario with confidence. It's also the place we want you to turn when you read something and your head is all jumbled with possibilities and you want someplace to sort them out systematically with inputs from others. You may have several ideas of your own on the subject, but you want to compare and contrast them with others, and explore where those scenarios link up with the rest of the world. Wikistrat will be the place to run all that speculative thinking to ground. It'll become your own little black box ("Where do strategists get these ideas?") where you get to flip off the lid and check out the inner workings.
Listen, we know the Wikistrat concept lives or dies with the utility of the model itself. There are plenty of newsletters and bulletins out there that will do much the same things this one does--just not with the same dedication to the long range nor with the put-you-in-the-driver's seat ability to engage your inner strategist. The bulletin is just a doorway--simple as that. We think it'll be a great one that you'll go through regularly to--again--develop your own strategic-thinking muscle mass, but it's just the beginning of what we think can become a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship--the kind web-savvy people increasingly expect.
So let me make this perfectly clear: when you get this bulletin every week, what you can read in 15-20 minutes is just the beginning of what Wikistrat can offer you when it comes to thinking systematically about the future.