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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.