Thinking the Unthinkable Presentation

"Britain out of the EU? President Trump? To express incredulity is not a political judgement. Until a few weeks ago what many viewed as outlandish "unthinkables" were not even being considered or investigated as part of corporate or political risk assessments. Now they have to be"
World Today, Chatham House 1st June 2016

Written by Nik Gowing and Chris Langdon - Thinking The Unthinkable is a rolling, ongoing, dynamic investigation into why leaders appear more unable or unwilling than ever to anticipate the biggest issues of our time. 


Since 2014 these have included the new assertiveness of President Putin’s Russia, the rise of so-called ‘Islamic state’ the sudden oil price crash, growing cyber-vulnerability, and the exponential growth in mass migration and people movements.


In a powerful and engaging speech Nik`s presentation is essential viewing for everyone leading in challenging times


  • Why are current leadership behaviours and culture apparently not fit for purpose?
  • What are the causes of so many failures in policy and strategic forecasting?
  • Are they human frailties? Or are they  systemic failures to embrace smartly new realities? 

To learn the reason why so many leaders feel scared and vunerable in the new, ill-defined normal read Thinking the Unthinkable 


Praise for Thinking the Unthinkable


“I very much recommend the Thinking The Unthinkable report to you.”
-Lord George Robertson, NATO Secretary General, 1999-2004


"I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and discussion. It was a rare gift of broad perspective, deep knowledge and critical thinking, and offered several points for further questioning and thought. I only regret it was not a couple of hours longer, followed by a deeper discussion. This would have been a real pleasure.......It is a precious opportunity to hear this broad perspective and questioning."


"Thank you again for our fantastic session. You’ve somehow manged to take the recent cacophony of extreme global events, and distil them down into a narrative that people can relate, act and apply to the their corporate environment.

I overheard one participant, discussing over drinks, say something along the lines of “I’ve been in falling asleep in management meetings all week and then I came here tonight and WHAM! Now I’m finally thinking”

- IMD Business School, Lausanne, November 2017


  • "You scored very high with an overall score out of 10 of 8.44, which is great.  Delegate feedback was very positive, a snapshot is below for your information:
  • Very informative, very topical, need to rethink my role
  • Engaging & interesting.  Very good presenter.  Quite a confronting subject to start the day
  • Might have been better if you had not pulled him short
  • Opened my eyes as to the extent of disruption impacting the world
  • Excellent information, entertaining and hopeful
  • Good thought provoker to start day with
  • Loved the external macro view and his perspective/insights
  • Insight, thought provoking, makes people think now about what needs to change
  • Set the scene for the day
  • Challenged the status quo – what will influence the environment we operate in – confronting
    -October 2017 - Melbourne - Big Ideas Summit


"Thank you so much for your inspired presentation and discussion. Its pretty difficult to exceed expectations when the expectations are as high as mine were for your presentation, but somehow you managed to do just that. You truly opened people`s eyes and gave us a challenging way to think about our roles....thank you for setting the stage and providiing the context for our discussions with a truly great opening. I look forwars to future collaborations". 
-6th April 2017 in the Conrad Hotel, New York City


"Thank you for your outstanding keynote presentation yesterday. It was a terrific way to kick off the Forum and helped the entire group recalibrate their expectations for the day and indeed for the profession!" 
- CEO Airmic - November 2016


"I wanted to send my heartfelt thanks for being with us for the plenary at our recent conference in New York. You were a great hit at the conference, and the clarity of the vision you articulated inspired the crowd...and I am sure is now providing a source of inspiration as people consider the uncertain direction promised by election results.....Donald Trump`s election has been such a great proof of concept for "Thinking the Unthinkable," and yet at the same time, I am deeply grateful that you are causing people to think differently about managing through our "interesting" times". 
- "Be Bold" Conference, New York City Nov 2016




"Your contribution was outstanding and was a large part of what made it so successful. I cannot thank you enough for taking on the challenge and for turning it into such a success"


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