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EIBE Self Reflection Assignment

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A new idea which arose from the scenario process and which challenged or developed your thinking in new ways

The EIBE scenario process was for me a new way of mixing the logical prediction with wild imagination. This is a new mixture and a new way of thinking for an engineer which usually relies on the structured logical way of thinking only. The scenario is basically a collection of new ideas that is based on present facts leading to future imaginary – yet logical – sequence of actions, all tied up with a hidden thread of logic.

In order to develop the scenario of Uzbekistan, it was necessary to do a research on the characteristics of this country, including different areas describing the life in Uzbekistan. One of the new ideas that arose from the research is the idea of double-landlocked countries. A Landlocked country is the one which has no access to any sea or ocean on its borders , where a double-landlocked country is a landlocked country where all its surrounding countries are landlocked. It was found that there are only two double landlocked countries in the world, Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein. Uzbekistan is surrounded by five landlocked countries, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan; where Liechtenstein is surrounded by two landlocked countries, Austria and Switzerland ! It was challenging and interesting to understand the effect on such characteristic on the foreign trade in Uzbekistan, of course lacking maritime transportation and shipping of goods has great negative effect on the foreign trade and the whole economy.

Another newly introduced concept during the process was the concept of “Non-Denominational Muslims”. Those are Muslims who are not following a specific doctrine (Mazhab). So they are neither Sunni nor Shi’as, just Muslims ! This form of Islam is found to be a majority in 6 countries in the world, in addition to Uzbekistan which has 54% of its population as Non-Denominational Muslims, there is Kazakhstan (74%), Albania (65%), Kyrgyzstan (64%), Indonesia (56%), and Mali (55%). In fact this is very challenging to my mind, as my understanding is that there would be radical or liberal Muslims, but at the end of the day both of them will follow a specific doctrine, or religious school, but it was new to know that there are people who are Just Muslims ! I believe it would be good to meet and have a discussion with one of these Non-Denominational Muslims to understand the way they see their religion.

ď‚· A brief critique of the scenario process as undertaken by your group which could be either observations about the process in terms of what part(s) of it did or did not work well and why you think this is, or a discussion on the working/behaviour of the group throughout the process

Before starting the EIBE course, it was thought that this would be a pure business subject focusing on the international trade area and international trade treaties and general rules. However, it turned to have a different objective, which has a wider spectrum than only business, it turned to be covering all aspects of life that might affect the business practices in the environment under study. Then came the assignment, at the beginning it was very interesting and challenging to try to think about how it is possible to develop a future scenario about a country which we almost have no information about. Step by step, the picture started to become clearer, and the scenario process components started to show their integrated value.

It was an excellent idea to have the trial session to develop Iteration-1, which was very helpful in understanding the process and determining the gaps and deviations from the right process track. We understood the importance and value of defining the research questions to be able to draw a clear track to follow in the research phase. It was found important to divide the major research areas among the assignment team members, but in the same time it was agreed to discuss the outcomes in group sessions to share the knowledge and align the understandings. The collaborative work in defining the Driving Forces was fun, the idea of using post-it notes was very effective in moving the DF’s around while defining the clusters.

One good lesson we learnt from Iteration-1 was about the choice of the 2 main clusters to be on the 2 axis of the scenario matrix. In Iteration one the choice was on “Local Politics” (Autocracy Vs. Democracy) and “Economy” (Open Market Vs. Closed Market), which were found to be very dependent on each other, which lead to similarities in the scenarios. This was taken into consideration while choosing the main clusters in Iteration-2, where the choice was made to reflect total independence between these two clusters on the axis. The choice this time was “Local Politics” and “Uranium”.

In fact the group thought to choose the second axe cluster to be “Water Crisis”, which was considered of high importance and impact, however it has high predictability relative to other clusters, so choosing it was violating the rules of the scenario building process, which states that the axis clusters of the scenario matrix should be of “Higher Impact” & “Lower Predictability”.

In a different context, there was a frequent confusion between the concept of “Predictability” and that of “Probability”. During the stage of defining the location of each cluster on the PI matrix, some team members were thinking of the “possibility” of the outcomes, so when one outcome is seen as having low probability to happen, they directly think that it has lower predictability, but in fact this is not correct, as it is already predicted (high predictability) as not likely to happen (low probability).

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