Nusbacher Associates

A LinkedIn article by Lynette Nusbacher

The author of this piece, apparently a published authority on millenials, feels he is exposing the deep, dark beating heart of Royal Dutch Shell.

He is naïve (or perhaps disingenuous) about the economics of … well, of economics in general. He is also a nasty shit insofar as he views himself as exempt from the Chatham House Rule on the grounds that he is an American reporter.

His thesis is that big energy companies are planning to continue to make money doing what they do now, while to a greater or lesser extent getting into the business of renewable energy. This is because they are so evil that they are going to try and make money no matter what future conditions are.

The author is really wrapped up in the fact that people move from nihilist activism or anti-capitalist activism into active participation in the real-world economy. Because all good strategy demands realistic horizon scanning as the first step, just taking a clear look at the future comes across as simultaneously sinister and silly. He’s missing the point that everyone, including climate activists and advocates, needs to take a rational, calculating look at the future in order to be able to make strategy. 

Shell has been doing good scenario work since I was in nursery school. When we set up the horizon scanning capability for UK national security, the first place I went was across the river to talk to the Scenario Unit at Shell. Shell’s strategy, to a greater or lesser extent depending on Chief Executive, is based on good scenario work. It’s one of the things that makes them genuine thought leaders not only in their sector, but among other business of their size and scale.

We’ve started to run scenarios ourselves, looking at the effects of climate change, in particular the effects of sea level rise and storm surge on commercial capabilities located on the Atlantic littoral. We’ve seen some interesting strategic and operational opportunities, and we have begun talking with clients about how they will be able to succeed in an environment in which New York, Miami and Boston have become less hospitable for some corporate capabilities.

The work is exciting, and there are clear opportunities for organisations able to invest with an eye to the next couple of decades rather than the next couple of quarters. The dark heart within all of us still has to make a living in the world of changed climate, so it’s worth running good scenarios to guide strategy.


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