Belgian private security sector #6: Phenomena

This sixth chapter focusses on phenomema definition. 

What approaches to identify them, how to define them, what characterize them, and finally, how represent the different levels of uncertainty?

This series of publications are extracted from my final paper written within the frame of university certificate on foresight (UCL – Sept 2018)

phenomena-of-Private-Security-Sector-300x300 Private Security Sector: phenomena

Identification of phenomena and key variables

The three approaches favoured by François Bourse are – according to us-  relevant for the purposes of our study:

  1. The literature has already been well exploited
  2. Retrospective and prospective questionnaires should be used in face-to-face interviews.
  3. Brainstorming and reflections in sessions or workshops are essential, but it should be noted that the sponsor has doubts about the enthusiasm that these could generate. It will therefore be necessary to emphasize the added value and the « what’s in it for me » for the participants.

A few definitions will clarify the concepts that will recur regularly throughout this work.


Phenomena definition

Matrix-of-phenomena.-Source-François-Bourse Private Security Sector: phenomena
Matrix of phenomena Source: François Bourse


By phenomenon, we mean trends, uncertainties, emergences, changes, inertia characterized by impact and uncertainty.

A drawing is worth a thousand words!


The world is « VUCA », volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

« This uncertainty is found in the phenomena identified at the level of:

– the intrinsic characteristics of the phenomenon and its impact…

– Controversies between representations and/or analyses leading to divergent hypotheses of evolution.

– of the more or less well-known nature of the phenomenon » *

These different levels of uncertainty can be seen in the diagram.

Same causes, different effects.

level-of-uncertainty-francois-bourse-298x300 Private Security Sector: phenomena
Different levels of uncertainty. Source: François Bourse

Variable definition

By variable, we mean change factors or drivers.  Variables can be external to the system, i.e. exogenous, or internal to the system, i.e. endogenous.

Sources, Useful links & Resources

* Bourse F. (2017). Pratiques Professionnelles de la prospective. CNAM

Executive Master en Prospective – UCL – 2018