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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 4-Oct-2010
4-Oct-10 News -- Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) presents award for Generational Dynamics

Web Log - October, 2010

4-Oct-10 News -- Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) presents award for Generational Dynamics

Any international organization can gain from using this methodology.

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) presents award for Generational Dynamics

I mentioned several months ago that I had received word that later in the year I would be receiving this award. It's taken a while, but I finally have the actual award, as well as a picture of CSC's president presenting the award, and notice of the award on the CSC web site. So for this web site, this is the official announcement.

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) has honored Generational Dynamics by selecting a paper on the commercialization of Generational Dynamics as one of the winners in its 2010 Leading Edge Forum Papers program.

CSC President Mike Laphen (R) presents 2010 Leading Edge Forum Papers award to John J. Xenakis
CSC President Mike Laphen (R) presents 2010 Leading Edge Forum Papers award to John J. Xenakis

The Leading Edge Forum spots key emerging business and technology trends before others, and identifies specific practices for exploiting those trends for business advantage.

The winning paper is entitled "International business forecasting using System Dynamics with generational flows (PDF)."

The 56 page paper describes the Generational Dynamics theory and practice in detail, and provides numerous examples to show how it might be used by commercial and government organizations to forecast developments in foreign countries.

This award is significant because it's the first time that a body of experts have performed a scholarly review of Generational Dynamics for validity. There were over 100 experts from numerous fields evaluating the 160 entries, and the fact that this paper was chosen as a winner indicates that these 100 judges find Generational Dynamics valid enough to pursue and publicize.

This award comes in the same year that the documentary movie "Generation Zero" movie, based on the Generational Dynamics theory, was released to the public.

Generational Dynamics is based on System Dynamics, a branch of engineering and mathematics created in the 1950s by Professor Jay Forrester at MIT. His initial objective, and its principal use since then, is to show how certain kinds of corporate decisions create feedback loops that cause instabilities within the corporation. Generational Dynamics applies these principles to population and generational flows within a country, and shows how governmental and commercial organizations frequently make decisions that have unintended consequences.

Some examples of forecasts that could be used by international organizations to develop short and long term strategies are described in the following paragraphs.

Sri Lanka. Formerly known as Ceylon, the island nation of Sri Lanka is just south of the southern tip of India, governed mainly by the majority Sinhalese (Buddhist) population. In 1976, the minority Tamils (Hindu) began demanding a separate Tamil state, and the demands turned into a civil war and rebellion by the terrorist group known as "Tamil Tigers."

By the beginning of 2009, the rebellion had turned into full scale generational crisis civil war, and the Sinhalese government army was closing in on the Tamil Tigers. As happens in every generational crisis war, both sides were becoming increasingly genocidal, as the Tigers were using civilians as human shields and the army was more willing to harm civilians to defeat the Tigers once as for all.

After decades of fighting that included terrorist acts by the Tigers, such as blowing up busses and buildings, all major analysts, including Stratfor and the BBC, were predicting that Tamil violence and terrorism would continue after the government army had defeated the Tigers.

But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this would be the climax to a generational crisis war, and the correct historical analogy would be to the defeat of Berlin and Tokyo in 1945. Thus, the Generational Dynamics web site uniquely predicted that fighting would cease after the army victory. Today, 18 months later that prediction has turned out to be true, and all other predictions were wrong.

Any organization planning to do business in Sri Lanka that paid attention to the standard commercial predictions were at a competitive disadvantage to organizations that wrote based on the correct Generational Dynamics prediction.

Lebanon. Lebanon is in a generational Awakening era. Lebanon's last crisis war began in 1975, and it became a war with Syria in 1976. Israel was an off-and-on participant, and the war reached an explosive climax in 1982 when Christian Arab forces massacred and butchered hundreds or perhaps thousands of Palestinian refugees in camps in Sabra and Shatila. Since that war ended, the Lebanese people have been haunted by that episode, and officials have been determined not to allow anything like it to happen again.

When the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbollah began, both sides immediately fought the war in a manner appropropriate to their respective generational eras. Hizbollah warriors fought the war in a "cool" Awakening era fashion, launching missiles into Israel during the day, and then returning to their wives in the evening. By contrast, Israel fought the war in a "hot" Crisis era fashion. They panicked when two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, and went to war in four hours, with no plan, no objective, and no idea what was going on. They then blundered from one objective to the next, until the war finally ended. If Lebanon had also been in a generational Crisis era, then Hizbollah warriors would have crossed the border into Israel and slaughtered Israelis in their homes, possibly triggering a regional and world war.

After the war, Lebanon went through a tumultuous period of riots and demonstrations, and analysts around the world, including within Lebanon itself, were predicting a high likelihood that Lebanon would have a new civil war. These predictions went on for months, while the Generational Dynamics web site was saying that a civil war is impossible during a generational Awakening era or, if one begins, then it fizzles quickly. Once again, any organization that understood that a civil war in Lebanon was impossible would have a competitive advantage over those who held the common beliefs.

Iraq. Iraq is also in a generational Awakening era, one generation past the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, a war the killed over a million people and featured the use of mustard gas, a WMD. One of the first major predictions of the Generational Dynamics web site, in 2003, was that a civil war would not occur in Iraq, because it was impossible, or would fizzle quickly if begun. This became a huge political issue in 2006, when sectarian violence followed the bombing of the al-Askariya Shrine in Samarra. By December, NBC News put on a big dog and pony show declaring that Iraq was in a civil war, and predicted that it would get worse. Ironically, their prediction occurred just as the sectarian violence was fizzling, and the "Anbar Awakening" in 2007 ended most of the violence, with the help of the American "surge."

Anyone who made commercial or policy decisions based on the predictions of NBC news would have been disastrously wrong. Anyone who made decisions based on the Generational Dynamics analysis would have had a big competitive advantage.

Iran. Iran is also in a generational Awakening era, following the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war. When massive students demonstrations broke out following the June 12, 2009, election, most analysts compared them to the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and predicted that they would end. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the correct historical analogy is to the student demonstrations in America's Summer of Love in 1967, and the eight years of protests that led to the resignation of President Nixon. The protests in Iran are far from over.

As the above four examples show, the Generational Dynamics forecasting metholodogy can produce trend forecasts that are very accurate. It cannot predict the results of elections, or any events that are "chaotic" (in the sense of Chaos Theory).

In fact, the forecasting methodology is a collection of tools, and like any tools, they have to be used correctly to be of use. These tools are not "silver bullets," but they do produce certain kinds of information that could be valuable to any governmental or commercial organization operating in other countries.

Any organization wishing to make use of these tools should read the award-winning paper, and is invited to contact me for help or answers to questions.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Oct-10 News -- Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) presents award for Generational Dynamics thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Oct-2010) Permanent Link
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