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.

(Link to original story: ...Read more

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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.

His new book The Righteous Mind: Why Good...Read more

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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.Read more

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June 21, 2012

The Problem With Everything: Them

Patrick Marren
Partner

So far I have soft-peddled my actual politics on here. It's only seemed like the sensible thing to do on the website of a commercial enterprise to keep my political opinions to myself.

But there comes a time when you just have to say what you really believe.

There are two types of people in the world: the sensible ones who can see that we are headed down a very bad path, and the nutty ones who want to hit the accelerator until we fly right off a cliff.

Good, sensible people are on a long losing streak, you see. I blame the Internet, in part. It causes bad ideas to...Read more

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June 07, 2012

Scenario Consulting to Go

Peter Kennedy
Managing Principal

It’s been said – and it’s still true – that scenario planning is most valuable as a tool to deliver strategic insights for longer-term planning. But in recent years, with the accelerating pace of change (and the increased recognition of such), private sector executives have tended to pass on in-depth strategic exercises in favor of what most would consider to be business planning. FSG believes this is a mistake, and that the need for thinking rigorously about what lies “around the corner” is always valuable, especially in turbulent times. But we understand the pressures companies are under...Read more

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June 07, 2012

Scenario Consulting to Go

Peter Kennedy
Managing Principal

It’s been said – and it’s still true – that scenario planning is most valuable as a tool to deliver strategic insights for longer-term planning. But in recent years, with the accelerating pace of change (and the increased recognition of such), private sector executives have tended to pass on in-depth strategic exercises in favor of what most would consider to be business planning. FSG believes this is a mistake, and that the need for thinking rigorously about what lies “around the corner” is always valuable, especially in turbulent times. But we understand the pressures companies are under...Read more

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April 22, 2012

This Week's Scenario Blast from the Past: Nation-Building in '01

Patrick Marren
Partner

Despite our leeriness about extrapolation from the past, we do read a lot of history at FSG in order to write our scenarios. As Mark Twain wrote, "It is not worth while to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man's character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible." (Mark Twain in Eruption: Hitherto Unpublished Pages About Men and Events (1940, Bernard DeVoto, editor). 

 

'"...[The] Committee...reluctantly published the Gardener Report on 11 April. It caused instant national outrage.... No sooner had the phrases kill and burn...Read more

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April 13, 2012

Seven Wrong Things People Think About the Future

Patrick Marren
Partner

All along the untrodden paths of the future I see the footprints of an unseen hand. - Sir Boyle Roche

We who inhabit the Land of Scenariotopia (as a former colleague termed our little realm) think that the best way to predict the future is not to. That is, you should abandon the search for certainty and explore multiple scenarios of what might be. Many people don't do this, however. We find that lots of them subscribe, usually semi-consciously, to some or all of the following fallacies:

1. "The future is ever-changing." No it isn't. The...Read more

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April 12, 2012

What We Are On About Here

Patrick Marren
Partner

Few people think more than two or three times a year. I've made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week. - George Bernard Shaw

The Nobel-winning economist and psychologist Daniel Kahneman published a book late last year entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow. In it, he distinguishes between two modes of thinking used by humans. The first is System 1: fast, automatic and intuitive. It suffices for the vast majority of our everyday purposes. We don't need to think deeply about not touching hot stoves, which leg to put our pants on first, or...Read more

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March 27, 2012

Welcome to Our New Website!

Patrick Marren
Partner

Hello, and welcome to our new website!! We aim to make this a place you will want to visit on a regular basis. We want to make it a can't-miss destination for people who need help making critical decisions under conditions of uncertainty, and who may be interested in using scenario planning techniques to do it.Read more

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