June 15, 2009

Crisis Scenario Planning in an Eventful Year

by Peter Kennedy

It’s early April – not even 100 days into the Obama administration – and already it’s been a turbulent year.

At this moment, a modest rally is buoying Wall Street and investor hopes that maybe – maybe – the worst may be over, as leaders of the G-20 nations meeting in London pledge hundreds of billions more dollars and coordinated action in the face of the greatest financial mess since the Great Depression.

Right now, the big US banks are grateful for new financial accounting regulations easing “mark-to-market” rules. That is apt to make their...Read more

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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

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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

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April 11, 2007

Coase Encounters

Patrick Marren
Partner

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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