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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October 02, 2012

Sodium Pentothal Presidential Debate

Patrick Marren
Partner

[Sometimes the best scenario planning we scenario consultants can do is based on scenarios that will never actually occur.] 

JIM LEHRER: Good evening and welcome to the first 2012 presidential debate. This is the 413th debate I have moderated, and quite frankly, if there's a 414th, I will shoot myself in the eye with a nailgun. So independently of the debate organizers, I took it upon myself to break into the green rooms of the contestants and drop some truth serum into each of their elitist Evian water bottles. I'm looking forward to this - I hope you are as well.

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September 19, 2012

400-Word Scenario #7: No More Newspapers

Patrick Marren
Partner

Print newspapers seem to be going away. What happens when they do? It's not all about ink and paper.

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September 14, 2012

The Future of Apple and Us

Patrick Marren
Partner

Your scenario consultants imagine the future of Apple products to 2020...so you don't have to.

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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 28, 2012

Scenario Planning and Truth

Peter Kennedy
Partner

The essential value of scenario planning is not just about constructing cool futuristic stories to “get the client thinking outside the box.” 

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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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