January 31, 2013

Thirteen: Year of Magical Thinking

Patrick Marren
Partner

Too many hands.

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January 18, 2013

400-Word Scenario #8*: Manti Te'o World

Patrick Marren
Partner

The Manti Te'o events of this past week have caused your scenario planning consultants to think bad thoughts about the future.

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December 28, 2012

2012: Five Inevitable Things That Did Not Happen

Patrick Marren
Partner

Five things that were "bound to occur," away from which we rashly predict the media will moonwalk at warp speed in 2013.

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December 03, 2012

A Scenario Planning Bulletin

Patrick Marren
Partner

Hot Breaking News on the Fiscal Cliff!

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November 30, 2012

Coastal Reconstruction Scenario Planning: Superstorm Sandy and the Retreat Option

Peter Kennedy
Partner

Sometimes leaders do not have the luxury of taking the long view; sometimes high-impact events compel hard decisions to be made now. 

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November 16, 2012

Idea-less in Gaza

Patrick Marren
Partner

Now that the happy horserace of the election is over, on to some grimmer scenarios. 

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November 01, 2012

Scenario Planning, Hurricane Sandy, and Relationships

Patrick Marren
Partner

This has been a ridiculously busy and stressful week for three of our recent scenario-based strategic planning clients: the United States Coast Guard, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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October 25, 2012

Nate Silver and Data-Recency Bias

Patrick Marren
Partner

One more thought provoked by Nate Silver's thought-provoking The Signal and the Noise.

It's about the seductiveness of data and cool, overly precise models.

(In comparison, say, to scenario-based planning? Sorry, the scenario consultants in us always rear their ugly, pragmatic, self-promoting heads. We gotta work on that.)

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October 19, 2012

Why Scenario-Based Planning Beats Prediction

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario consultants have an advantage over single-point forecasters like Nate Silver: we're not restricted to single point forecasts. 

Don't get us wrong: Nate Silver is as good as it gets when it comes to single-point forecasts, and as honest about their limitations.  But that undeniable fact just further dramatizes how dangerous point forecasting can be.

Just to illustrate, let's take the current ongoing presidential hoo-hah. 

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October 12, 2012

Foxy Hedgehogs: "The Signal and the Noise"

Patrick Marren
Partner

Nate Silver's book The Signal and the Noise makes a darned good case for scenario-based strategic planning. 

In it, he raises the old distinction between "hedgehogs" and "foxes," from a fragment by the ancient Greek philosopher Archilochus via Isaiah Berlin: "The fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

"Foxes" in this dichotomy are nonideological and open thinkers not wedded to any one theory; they are comfortable with "nuance, uncertainty, complexity, and dissenting opinion."

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