June 20, 2012

We're Doomed! No, We're Saved! Euro Scenarios

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario consulting has rarely had a better promotional material than Europe has been pumping out the past year or so. Uncertainty abounds.

Sunday's election in Greece has once again caused the Very Serious People in Europe to breathe a sigh of relief. "New Democracy, the mainline conservative party that wants to stay in the euro, won the election and can form a government! We're saved!" 

But Sunday's result guarantees nothing. The ultimate fate of Greece's membership in the Euro Zone rests not on which party is in power – the Coalition of the Radical Left, Syriza, had also...Read more

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June 11, 2012

Why Scenario Planning Works

Patrick Marren
Partner

Say you have a strategic decision to make. And you have several experts giving you different expert opinions about how you should make that decision. And you are not an expert. What do you do?

This is hardly an academic question. In fact, it is a fairly good description of what top management has to do every day. Especially in this era of the Internet, experts can be found to disagree on everything from interest rates to global warming to whether it is raining outside. 

Organizational leaders...Read more

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June 08, 2012

Pray for Austerity to Work in 2013...

Patrick Marren
Partner

Another quick and filthy Friday Scenario Planning exercise.

Someone is holding a gun to your head and asking what the impact of the 2012 election will be on your organization.

Here's your answer: Austerity -- either moderate or less moderate. 

Damnable 2 x 2 consultant matrix for today: Obama vs. Romney on one axis; Keynes Is Right vs. The Austrians Are Right on the other.

The first axis is self-explanatory: Obama gets re-elected versus Romney gets elected. The second is as follows: "Keynes Is Right" means that John Maynard Keynes' analysis of the original Great...Read more

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May 07, 2012

Quick & Dirty Scenarios: Francois Hollande, Greece, and Us

Patrick Marren
Partner

Some quick and dirty scenarios about this past weekend's EuroChaos in France and Greece.Read more

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May 04, 2012

Fault Lines: Two Years Later, Some Scenarios

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario fodder for the week: Raghuram Rajan's "Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy" won many awards as best business book of 2010. A couple of years on, it's worth examining Rajan's major theses to see how they have played out.Read more

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April 25, 2012

Seams Like Old Times

Patrick Marren
Partner

"Silos" are an inevitable part of any organization; indeed, of any human activity. Even if you confine yourself to individual action, your own mind is thinking within certain categories, usually operating off a mental model that tells you what to expect - "If I do X, then Y will happen" - and what NOT to expect - Z or W or something completely different.

Organizations build structures that they believe will maximize their chances of success, balancing them off, of course, with the demands of physical reality, the limitations of space, time, and communication, and the whims of...Read more

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April 20, 2012

Scenario Planning at FSG

Patrick Marren
Partner

What exactly does the Futures Strategy Group do? We help excellent organizations make better decisions under conditions of uncertainty -- mainly through the use of scenarios.Read more

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October 02, 2011

Worried? Good. But Your Worst Nightmare Will Probably Not Come to Pass.

FSG partner Patrick Marren chronicles a century of late-summer anxiety…and wonders what it all means for the pressing worries of 2011. 

August 1911: The specter of Anarchism grips America. Anarchist Ben Reitman, disciple of Emma Goldman, counsels a rally of New York laborers to commit murder if necessary to bring about change: “If the rich thought that you would destroy their property or injure them, they would pay attention to the unemployed…. Your hope, I tell you, lies in your ability to injure society.” (N.Y. Times, Aug. 31, 1911)...Read more

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April 01, 2011

Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa: Some Notional Scenarios to Ponder

Peter Kennedy
Partner

by Patrick Marren and Peter Kennedy

Prediction is Difficult, Especially About the Future — Attributed to many

A wave of revolution is sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. Many people want to know what is going to happen next. Will it be good for the United States or bad? Will it result in peace-loving democracies or America-hating Islamist dictatorships? No one knows. It is important to remember at this moment that not even a single movement in a single country has yet achieved anything approaching what we would call “democracy.” The present is chaotic and...Read more

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November 04, 2010

Recession, Recovery and Scenario Planning: Which Way Now?

by Patrick Marren and Peter Kennedy  

Alas, we are not manufactured, in our current edition of the human race, to understand abstract matters — we need context.Read more

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