August 12, 2009

Scenario Planning Bookshelf: Chasing Black Swan Tails

by Patrick Marren

Much has been made lately of “long tails” and “Black Swans.” The latter is a formulation of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, an options trader and academic whose book, The Black Swan, lays out what Black Swans are and why just about everyone but him in the financial world is a fool. Read more

More »
June 28, 2009

How Scenario Planning Improves Forecasting by Reversing Cause and Effect

by Patrick Marren

Forecasting is based on expert opinion. Expert opinion, in turn, is essentially a collection of “if-then” statements about how causality works in one’s sphere of expertise. These “if-then” statements, it should be noted, are all based upon observation of how things have worked in the past. Hence, forecasting is based on how things have seemed to work in the past.Read more

More »
January 30, 2008

Begging Indulgences: Bleak News from the Economic Front

by Robert Avila

FSG welcomes Robert Avila as the contributing author of this month’s FSG Outlook. Robert, an economist and former colleague, is an iconoclastic thinker, with a keen eye and a sharp wit. Robert warns that a soft economic landing looks less and less likely this time around.

Among political leaders and too many business writers there is a popular and dangerous belief that mere time and good will among central bankers will cure the global economy of the ills that it is facing: $100 per-barrel crude, the sub-prime mortgage rot eating away at global balance...Read more

More »
November 19, 2007

The Wisdom of Scenario Crowds

by Peter Kennedy

The strategic decisions that corporations have to make are of mind-numbing complexity. But we know that the more power you give to a single individual in the face of complexity and uncertainty, the more likely it is that bad decisions will be made.

  James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds            

 

The Wisdom of Crowds (Doubleday, 2004) is a compelling argument for the benefits of collective thinking and problem-solving. Across a range of...Read more

More »
January 01, 2007

Meet the Metrics: The New Math of Measuring Effectiveness

by Patrick Marren

One of the more interesting things I have found in my life and business experience is that numerical measures, or “metrics,” as we consultants are forced by law to call them, start to lose their usefulness on the day they are dreamt up.

In baseball, for many decades, batting average was seen as the ultimate measure for batters, and earned run average (ERA) served the same purpose for pitchers. For decades, no one complained, and awards were given to the top performers in both categories. The best pitcher had the lowest ERA; the best hitter had the highest...Read more

More »

Pages