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Introducing SCC forecasts – exploring opportunities and challenges of innovation in arbitration

I wake up most mornings thinking about what will become of the self-driving car of arbitration.

Every day, I get up, have my coffee and start my computer. Then I think about the future. The future of conflict resolution, of international dispute resolution, of arbitration, of the SCC. What will the future bring, what do I hope it will bring and how we can contribute or collaborate to achieve it.

Many aspects will affect the future - global macrotrends, arbitral microtrends, technological advances, political changes, legal discourse, expected and unexpected collaborations and every so often, coincidences. Some changes I think I can see coming a mile away, some I hope we will create ourselves and some will most certainly surprise me (they are the ones I look forward to the most).

Like the self-driving car of arbitration.

If instead of a business developer for the SCC, I was an energy drink executive, pondering the source of future competition, I would not worry about coffee or tea or other energy source substitutes. I would worry about self-driving cars. Today roughly 40 % of all energy drinks are sold at gas stations. Presumably out of habit when filling up gas and to help stay awake at the wheels. Now, if you have a self-driving car, you don’t need to stay awake by the wheel and you can send your car to fill up itself while you’re in a meeting. How much of the gas station energy drink sales will remain when self-driving cars gain ground? Does doubling down on marketing at the gas stations or teaming up with a coffee brand still make sense? Should I stick to my distribution channels but pivot and produce mouth-watering motor oil for the self-driving car instead or is my core business to sell energy drinks to humans?

In arbitration, a similar train of thought might be that the biggest competition to an institution are other institutions, or courts, or even AI judges paired with blockchain enforcement. But they are not our competition in this. Quite the contrary. We are all in pursuit of the same higher goal, of our core values - effective and peaceful resolution of conflicts and disputes. Through arbitration or other means.

So, what is then the self-driving car of arbitration? What, if anything, has the potential to change our reality profoundly? What would it look like? Who would build it? And maybe most importantly, could we be the engineers of the self-driving car of arbitration? And if we are, how do we safeguard core values?

These questions affect us all and we will present some of our thoughts on these topics here under the heading SCC Forecasts. On the macro and micro trends affecting us, what we think they might mean for dispute resolution, practically or philosophically. On areas where we think we’re starting to figure out some answers, and areas where we are still looking for the questions. We invite you along for the journey to figure out and build the future.

The key going forward will not just be to continuously look for the answers, but to continuously look for the questions and be prepared that both might surprise you.

 

Lise Alm

Head of Business Development

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