Tag Archives: prediction

Geopolitics, Investing, and the Little Book of Psychic Cold Reading

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Milo’s latest advice for investors and business people trying to come to grips with geopolitics is now available on Forbes.com.  It’s called “Geopolitics, Investing and the Little Book of Psychic Cold Reading”.

Our new Forbes piece: Play it Like Steve Jobs-Three Questions for Business Leaders to Ask When Surprise Hits

Our latest post on Forbes proposes a simple framework for leaders to apply when confronted with a strategic surprise-That 3am call… In short, don’t rush into action, no matter how urgent things seem to be! Read the post here.

Previous Forbes pieces:

Our new Forbes piece: Lady Gaga World President by 2030? Why the forecasters so often get it wrong

Our latest post on Forbes is a reflection on the limits of forecasting after the publication of the National intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 report is available here. In short, don’t predict, construct.

Previous Forbes pieces:

 

Forecasting World Events – Call for Participants

We may be looking for you.

We may be looking for you.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably the sort of person that the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is looking for:   IARPA is now looking for new participants for its online research study, Forecasting World Events.

The Forecasting World Events study involves making predictions about current issues that you select from various categories, like international relations, global politics, economics, business, and other areas.  If you’d like to try to participate, click HERE.

Once you sign up at the website, they will send you a background questionnaire.   After you complete the questionnaire, they will send you an e-mail to let you know if you have been selected.  The initial questionnaire only takes about 20 minutes, and the prediction study itself is really interesting and quite quick to do every few weeks.

PS To understand the methodological background of the study, we recommend Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment:  How Good Is It? How Can We Know.

PPS If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to our blog?  Thanks.

Crafting Non Predictive Strategy, Part III: Acknowledge the Nature of the Problem

Despite formidable developments in business strategy over the last fifty years, organizations keep being disrupted by events they should have seen coming, but didn’t, or by events they saw coming but were unable to avoid or take advantage of. In 1971, NCR was surprised by the rapid rise of electronic cash registers and lost its leadership of the market. In 2007, Nokia was unable to react to the launch of the iPhone, an event the Finnish firm dismissed as minor, and is now struggling to survive. In 2011, the Arab uprising came as a complete surprise to everybody, not just business and governments but the people involved as well. And the list goes on:  if strategy is about addressing the key challenges an organization face, then the general lack of preparedness (if not prevention of) the economic and political crises that the world has been facing since 2008 is a massive failure of strategy. Hence it’s no surprise that in a survey conducted in 2011 by consulting firm Booz, fully 53% of senior executives did not think their company’s strategy would be successful. Houston, we have a problem…with strategy. Continue reading

Repeat after me: “Why won’t the price mechanism work?” – Energy independence and neo-Malthusian commodity fears

I’m not supposed to be blogging.  Philippe and I have a book deadline at SUP this week.  We have a Forbes piece due soon, too.  And I have a speech to prepare for an Institutional Investor Forum in mid-September.  So I’m going to make this quick…

Tonight I went out for dinner with a stack of reading to catch up on.  Over indifferent Italian, I read two articles that I have to share.  One I want to share because it’s so smart, and the other I want to share because it’s the opposite, but it parrots several popular misconceptions.

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Crafting Non-Predictive Strategy, Part I: Deep Understanding Beats Prediction

As Milo and I have argued before, the environments and issues businesses deal with are more complex than traditional strategy models admit.   Business issues today display high levels of uncertainty, they can behave non-linearly, and they can be vulnerable to “Black swans”, i.e. low-probability but high impact events that disrupt even the best formulated strategies.  The added difficulty for strategists and managers is that nonlinear environments often appear linear for an extended time period (think US house prices).  As a result, some conclude that what seems to be an essentially linear pattern (prices fluctuate a bit around a ‘long term trend’ but always rise), are linear in reality – before a radical change occurs that completely disrupts previously assumed patterns (e.g. prices fall dramatically).  In short, people often assume an environment is linear and predictable when in fact the continuity we observe is only a particular case of limited duration.  To make matters worse, with many nonlinear systems change is not nicely spread over the years:  most of the cumulative change occurs in one, single – often dramatic – occurrence.  In the language of engineering, some things don’t “fail gracefully” (e.g. a bridge that breaks suddenly instead of bending slowly).

Not a “graceful failure”.

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