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. 

More »
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. 

More »
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).

More »
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.)

More »
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. 

More »
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."

More »
August 16, 2012

Guest 400-Word Scenario #4: MRSA's Deadly Cure?

Guest blogger Andrew Large gives us a scenario of EXACTLY 400 words: nature's possible revenge on an antibiotic-happy human race.

More »
August 08, 2012

Search & Replace Theater!

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario Planning Fun With the Microsoft Word Search & Replace function: Are we turning Japanese?

I've taken a story from the New York Times and replaced all references to Japan, the yen, etc. with American/dollar terms. This is almost certainly NOT our future in many respects; it is difficult to imagine Americans tolerating stunted economic growth out of an Asian-like reverence for the elderly. But Japan IS demographically ahead of us in terms of the retirement cliff it is facing, so it's an interesting scenario exercise.

More »
July 21, 2012

400-Word Scenario #2: The Good Old Days of Gun Violence

Patrick Marren
Partner

July 21, 2042 (Fox/MSNBC News): The nation reacted with a mix of horror, outrage, calls for new laws, and debate over the Second Amendment as the scale of the latest mass murder came into focus over the past two days.

A confirmed total of 212 people, most in the greater Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, but some as far away as New York and Seattle, are apparently victims of yet another technologically sophisticated, targeted DNA/GPS/UAV attack.

More »
July 12, 2012

400-Word Scenario #1: Clawback World

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario planning requires imagination. Everyone likes to pretend that imagination is fun and games. But really, imagination is often very difficult and painful, because it requires us not just to take incremental steps along a pre-existing path, but to make up an entirely different path. (There are gradations of this: from some godlike perspective even truly ingenious innovative thoughts can seem boring and incremental, and from an quotidian perspective simple incremental steps can seem like the moon landing. But I digress.) 

More »

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Risk