11 April 2023

Climate intelligence is futures intelligence: Insights from Cervest CIC member Roger Spitz’s bestseller

Dr. Claire Huck

By Dr. Claire Huck

Climate intelligence is futures intelligence: Insights from Cervest CIC member Roger Spitz’s bestseller

Cervest’s inaugural Climate Intelligence Council (CIC) member Roger Spitz has just released the fourth and final volume of his bestselling book - The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption showcasing a detailed case study on climate intelligence and our work at Cervest.

Roger’s work focuses on how society and organizations can remain relevant and sustainable by building resilience and driving virtuous systemic change to solve the greatest challenges of our complex world. His latest book - Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation - reached #1 Bestseller in Green Business on Amazon Kindle, #3 Bestseller for Sustainable Development Economics, and #1 New Release in Strategic Management, Business Education, Business Planning & Forecasting, Organizational Learning, and Business Technology Innovation.

“The more I investigated the true nature of our world, the more I gathered evidence on the extent to which as a society our structures are fragile. Everything in the world is constantly changing, but our organizations and institutions are not updating for resiliency. Many of us continue to act on flawed assumptions, assuming that the world is predictable, linear, and controllable. But the cost and missed opportunities from these wrong assumptions is increasing. That led me to develop the Disruptive Futures Institute into a global executive education center to help decision-making in complex and deeply uncertain environments, while supporting capacity building for futures intelligence and resiliency. Given the need for every one of us to become change agents, we decided to release The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption to a general audience.”

Roger Spitz, President Techistential & Chair Disruptive Futures Institute in San Francisco, LP Investor & VC Partner, Former Global Head of Tech M&A (BNP Paribas)

Transformative innovation for systems-level change

New business models and developing technologies will continue to drive significant shifts in value creation, and for those intent on business as usual, the scope of value destruction is growing. Roger’s Volume IV - Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation - explores the actions needed for achieving systems-level change in relation to climate. Innovations and technologies which offer only point solutions are not going to meaningfully tackle our toughest climate challenges. The energy transition requires a confluence of transformational dynamics, which are enabled by climate intelligence.

The book provides a compelling case on how democratizing climate intelligence enables the scaling of climate foresight by offering actionable insights on how future operations may differ from our present conditions, on the efforts needed to mitigate and adapt to any future risks, as well as on detecting new opportunities which may arise from changing climatic conditions.

Climate intelligence is futures intelligence

Organizations face unprecedented scrutiny in terms of their climate initiatives. The effectiveness of those actions will inform the sustainability of our futures (to be able to meet present needs without jeopardizing those of future generations).

Through its comprehensive case study, the book shows how Cervest climate intelligence offers insights for decision-making, managing risks, and developing resilience by analyzing the potential impacts of climate change - however uncertain and far in the future these might be. Climate intelligence enables resilient climate-aligned decisions and actions. Sustainable futures are not possible without futures intelligence, which in turn relies on climate intelligence.

The benefits of climate intelligence for organizations are far-reaching, incorporating physical climate risk into short-term decision-making despite deep uncertainty, while ensuring longer term planning to encourage anticipatory governance and building antifragility.

A strategic foresight adviser, Roger is an authority on decision-making in uncertain and complex environments, also benefiting from two decades of leading M&A investment banking and VC businesses, advising CEOs, founders, boards, and shareholders on their most strategic decisions. His foresight practice, Techistential’s influential Board, Governance & Sustainability academy, works with organizations globally to drive systemic change for sustainable value creation. For Roger, futures intelligence is decision-making informed by anticipatory thinking and future-related insights, which goes hand-in-hand with climate intelligence.

The levers for change to build resilient futures

Inspired by Donella Meadows’ points of intervention (Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System), the case study in Roger’s book reveals how climate intelligence can drive effective transformation through climate-aligned interventions at the levels of education & mindsets, foresight & visions, and structures, as together these offer the most leverage for systemic change.

  • [Stronger lever] Education and mindsets: Our future-savvy leaders now have the tools to develop the mindset to incorporate climate in every decision they make. While education begins on the playground, it is equally important in the boardroom. Cervest spreads this education by creating open and transparent climate intelligence for every person, asset, and decision.

  • Foresight and vision: Climate intelligence enables climate foresight, which allows us to load our imagination with an engaging vision that can be defined, articulated, and communicated as our preferred climate-aligned future(s). These new insights are now available in an understandable and actionable format to deliver on the vision.

  • Structures: Modifying structures can be effective in changing behaviors and evaluating what change arises as a result of different structures. Climate intelligence provides asset-level recommendations and incentives. Climate foresight offers these insights to decision-makers and policymakers to investigate the changes required to incentivize the system, knowing that incentives determine outcomes.

  • [Weaker lever] Patterns and trends: By monitoring observable trends over time and their feedback loops, change can be effected and its response observed. A single, composite, and standardized metric set for quantifying climate risk and emissions on any asset, portfolio, instrument, or timescale provides transparent information and disclosures. Climate-related disclosures can also be helpful to monitor patterns over time by being consistent, comparable (own assessments versus peers’), reliable (trust in the data), clear (easily understandable however complex the information), and efficient (optimizing benefits in relation to costs and burdens). Cervest Ratings allow comparisons of climate-related risks facing physical assets to inform adaptation planning for the most vulnerable assets, strengthen investment strategies, and monitor and report risks to different stakeholders.

Interventions at the levels of education and mindsets, visions, and structures offer the most leverage for systemic change. With climate intelligence we can develop futures intelligence.

The full case study on climate intelligence is included in Chapter 4 “Greenaissance & Sustainability: The Ultimate Disruptive Opportunity” of Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation. To learn more about Roger’s latest book, and his four-volume collection The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption, you can read this article: Bestselling Foresight Strategist Roger Spitz Releases the Definitive Manual for Leveraging Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation.

For more updates from the CIC, please visit the dedicated section of our Climate Intelligence Academy.

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