ACTIVITY AND SOCIETAL SCAN
A corporation normally has its own network of plants, laboratories, offices, agents, and representatives that furnish a continuing flow of information necessary to plan and operate the business. But when it comes to sensing developments in remote locations or in broad economic, cultural, or social trends, it is important to tap outside experts to avoid the group-think pathologies that tend to develop internally.
Political scientists have long had techniques for charting international indicators of the degree of friendship or enmity that currently exists among nations. New methods are being continually developed in this field of nonlinear political risks to business. The techniques are of increasing value in estimating the relative likelihood of future changes.
Social and behavioral scientists have also advanced their observational techniques and instruments to deal with such emerging issues as (1) the general decoupling process when societies retreat from the complexities of life and attempt to restore a more human scale, (2) terrorism, and (3) the recognition of social traps or the tendency of organizations and societies to start in a direction that ultimately proves unacceptable but cannot then be reversed without causing even greater problems (such as exploitation of limited resources, reliance on technology, or disposal of wastes).
Technology and economic forecasting methodologies have also advanced substantially with a host of techniques, including systems