April 11, 2007

Coase Encounters

Patrick Marren

This month we salute an article that is a lifetime old, and use it to see where things might go in the next lifetime.

Well, the article can’t be said to be a lifetime old, really, because although it has reached threescore and ten, the traditional biblical lifespan, its author, who was 26 at the time it was written, is still alive and kicking, the oldest Nobel laureate around.

Ronald Coase is 96 years old. He is presently listed as Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1937, he wrote a little article in the journal ...Read more

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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

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November 01, 2006

Global Scenario Planning: On the Road in the Middle Kingdom

by Charles Perrottet

Recently, I traveled to China for two weeks. Unsurprisingly, this trip personalized my awareness of an immense and different country. But, perhaps because of the amount of time I have spent working with scenarios over the past 15-20 years, it offered much more. China is beautiful, fascinating, and varied. Its future is, however, significantly less predictable than that of any other major country in the world today.

My visit began in the business and financial center of Shanghai, proceeded on a cruise up the Yangtze, and ended in the capital...Read more

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