September 08, 2012

400-Word Scenario #6: Prisoners' Dilemma Nation

Patrick Marren
Partner

Ladies and gentlemen, I have 400 words of bad news: we may look back on 2012 as "the good old days of political cooperation."

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August 30, 2012

Experts Are the Worst Forecasters

Charles Perrottet
Partner

After decades of trying to help clients anticipate the widest range of plausible possible future events, the following quote rings quite true to us: “Those who know more forecast very slightly better than those who know less.  But those with the most knowledge are often least reliable.” 

Daniel Kahneman, a winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, published this conclusion in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow after extensive research including numerous statistical analyses. 

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August 21, 2012

400-Word Scenario #5: Revenge of the Real?

Patrick Marren
Partner

The Actual has its revenge upon the Virtual...

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August 16, 2012

Partisan Hatred Scenario?

Patrick Marren
Partner

A hypothesis: our current terrible state of political dialogue could be an equilibrium that satisfies far deeper emotional longings than any consensus ever could.

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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.

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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.

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August 07, 2012

My Team's Okay, Your Team's Evil

Patrick Marren
Partner

Jonathan Haidt thinks we're weird. And as scenario consultants, we have to agree.

Actually, he thinks we're WEIRD - as in, "Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic." Or at least you live in a country that by world standards corresponds to such adjectives. And if you live in such a country, you may fall into the trap of believing that all moral questions ultimately can be resolved through rationality. That is wrong, according to him.

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July 25, 2012

400-Word Scenario #3: Retirement Redistribution

Patrick Marren
Partner

A future scenario of mass wealth redistribution to a generation that just did not save enough for retirement.

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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.

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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.) 

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