June 18, 2010

U.S. Healthcare Scenario Planning: Imagining the Future Shape of Reform

by Peter Kennedy 

It already seems like ages ago that the healthcare reform legislation was the centerpiece of the nation’s political conversation. While the most vocal opponents of the Obama administration continue to call for a repeal of healthcare reform, most of the nation (based on the results of a May Wall Street Journal poll) favor giving the new law a chance to work. The Obama administration is hoping as much, with the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico alone absorbing an extraordinary amount of executive time and attention.

Meanwhile, the real substance...

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January 25, 2010

McKinsey, Scenarios and Us

by Patrick Marren

The November 2009 issue of the McKinsey Quarterly includes an article by Charles Roxburgh entitled “The Use and Abuse of Scenarios.” It includes a number of good tips about scenario-based strategic planning, based on his experience in building scenarios over the past 25 years. It also highlights some important distinctions between his understanding of scenarios, and the way in which FSG has gone about creating and using them over the past few decades. And finally, it brings to the surface the urgent concerns of executives as they go about leading their organizations under uncertain conditions.

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August 15, 2009

The Big Mistakes Obama Has Already Made

As the economy fails to recover instantaneously, and foreign enemies bluster, President Obama is taking increasing heat from expert critics. It is clear that his administration has made many missteps already in its handling of the economy, foreign policy, and virtually every other area. Some of these mistakes will take years, if not decades, for the United States to recover from.

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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. 

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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.

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June 15, 2009

Crisis Scenario Planning in an Eventful Year

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.

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January 30, 2008

Begging Indulgences: Bleak News from the Economic Front

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.

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November 19, 2007

The Wisdom of Scenario Crowds

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 

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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.

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January 01, 2007

Meet the Metrics: The New Math of Measuring Effectiveness

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.

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