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jerryking : foresight   16

We need to be better at predicting bad outcomes
September 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

A question some of us ask all too often, and some of us not often enough: what if it all [jk: our plan] goes wrong?.....we don’t think about worst-case scenarios in the right way......
The first problem is that our sense of risk is pretty crude. The great psychologist Amos Tversky joked that most of us have three categories when thinking about probabilities: “gonna happen”, “not gonna happen” and “maybe”.....It would be helpful if our sense of risk was a little more refined; intuitively, it is hard to grasp the difference between a risk of one in a billion and that of one in a thousand. Yet, for a gambler — or someone in the closely related business of insurance — there is all the difference in the world.....research by Barbara Mellers, Philip Tetlock and Hal Arkes suggests that making a serious attempt to put probabilities on uncertain future events might help us in other ways: the process makes us more humble, more moderate and better able to discern shades of grey. Trying to forecast is about more than a successful prediction......we can become sidetracked by the question of whether the worst case is likely. Rather than asking “will this happen?”, we should ask “what would we do if it did?”

The phrase “worst-case scenario” probably leads us astray: anyone can dream up nightmare scenarios.....To help us think sensibly about these worst-case possibilities, Gary Klein, psychologist and author of Seeing What Others Don’t, has argued for conducting “pre-mortems” — or hypothetical postmortems. Before embarking on a project, imagine receiving a message from the future: the project failed, and spectacularly. Now ask yourself: why? Risks and snares will quickly suggest themselves — often risks that can be anticipated and prevented.......Contingency planning is not always easy......woes that would result both as the “base case” (the truth) and a “worst-case scenario” (the government sucking in its stomach while posing for a selfie).
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In our increasingly airbrushed world, it becomes ever more necessary to ask the unfashionable questions like ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ - and then plan for it...
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Humanity's survival may well rely on the ability of our imaginations to explore alternative futures in order to begin building the communities that can forestall or endure worst-case catastrophes.
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Amos_Tversky  anticipating  base_rates  beforemath  books  contingency_planning  discernment  failure  forecasting  foresight  frequency_and_severity  humility  nuanced  predictions  preparation  probabilities  risk-assessment  risks  Tim_Harford  uncertainty  worst-case 
september 2019 by jerryking
MISC Magazine
A journal of strategic insight and foresight.
magazines  strategy  strategic_thinking  foresight 
october 2018 by jerryking
Rich People
“Rich People plan for three generations
Poor people plan for Saturday night”

― Gloria Steinem
tags: class-distinction, inspirational
affluence  quotes  generational_wealth  personal_finance  social_classes  beforemath  forward_looking  foresight  preparation  time_horizons  Gloria_Steinem 
october 2017 by jerryking
I see history as my root and my illumination
5 August /6 August 2017 | Financial Times | by Kwame Nkrumah Cain.

Sir, I am a bit perplexed at how Henry Mance can assert that history is “rarely instructive” (“ ‘Dunkirk’ shows that the past is not an open book”, July 29). At Stanford University, I was particularly attracted to history because Dionysius of Halicarnassus praised it as “philosophy learnt by example” [ Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus.]. Even to this day, such study helps me heed the counsel of the dead and marshal the strength of my own mind.

I see history as a laboratory rich in a hundred thousand experiments in economics, religion, literature, science and government. I see history as my root and my illumination, as the road from whence I came and the only light that can clarify the present and guide me into the future.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated: “He who cannot draw on 3,000 years is living from hand to mouth.” (i.e. my take is that being able to draw on 3,000 yrs. of living is the definition of wisdom).
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Comment:
Gene 4 days ago
History is the great uncontrolled experiment on human behavior. Lessons should be drawn from it with caution (as history shows).
letters_to_the_editor  history  quotes  tools  hand-to-mouth  Greek  lessons_learned  skepticism  experimentation  wisdom  human_behavior  the_counsel_of_the_dead  foresight  Kwame_Nkrumah 
august 2017 by jerryking
Rules for Modern Living From the Ancient Stoics -
May 25, 2017 | WSJ | By Massimo Pigliucci.

Stoicism is practical and humane, and it has plenty to teach us. The philosophy may have been developed around 300 B.C. by Zeno of Cyprus, but it is increasingly relevant today, as evidenced by the popularity of events such as Stoicon, an international conference set to hold its fourth annual gathering in Toronto this October.

The Stoics had centuries to think deeply about how to live, and they developed a potent set of exercises to help us navigate our existence, appreciating the good while handling the bad. These techniques have stood the test of time over two millennia. Here are five of my favorites.

(1) Learn to separate what is and isn’t in your power. This lets you approach everything with equanimity and tranquility of mind. ...Understand and internalize the difference, and you will be happier with your efforts, regardless of the outcome.

(2) Contemplate the broader picture. Looking from time to time at what the Stoics called “the view from above” will help you to put things in perspective and sometimes even let you laugh away troubles that are not worth worrying about. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius made a note of this in his famous personal diary, “The Meditations”: “Altogether the interval is small between birth and death; and consider with how much trouble, and in company with what sort of people and in what a feeble body, this interval is laboriously passed.”

(3) Think in advance about challenges you may face during the day. A prepared mind may make all the difference between success and disaster.

(4) Be mindful of the here and now (i.e. living in the moment). The past is no longer under your control: Let it go. The future will come eventually, but the best way to prepare for it is to act where and when you are most effective—right here, right now.

(5) Before going to bed, write in a personal philosophical diary. This exercise will help you to learn from your experiences—and forgive yourself for your mistakes.

Stoicism was meant to be a practical philosophy. It isn’t about suppressing emotions or stalking through life with a stiff upper lip. It is about adjusting your responses to what happens, enduring what must be endured and enjoying what can be enjoyed.
Stoics  philosophy  Romans  journaling  self-discipline  mindfulness  span_of_control  mybestlife  preparation  beforemath  sense_of_proportion  the_big_picture  anticipating  contextual  forward_looking  foresight  GTD  perspectives  affirmations  beyond_one's_control  chance  living_in_the_moment  Greek  personal_control 
june 2017 by jerryking
Five things the TD Centre can teach us about how to build Toronto - The Globe and Mail
MARCUS GEE
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 01 2015,

The TD towers were a radical departure both in scale and in style. The tallest of the original two soared to 56 floors, dominating the skyline like nothing before or since. Rising from its six-acre site at King and Bay, it was everything the old buildings around it were not. While they featured arched windows and gargoyles, Greek columns and bronze roofs, the design of the TD Centre was all austerity and simplicity.

It is just this sort of future that the creators of the TD Centre had in mind when they hired one of the era’s most renowned architects to build them something outstanding. The architect was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), the Chicago-based German émigré who liked to say that “less is more.” He referred to his works as “skin-and-bones” architecture, and his unadorned steel-and-glass boxes were meant to reflect the spirit of a modern technological era.

It took ambition and foresight to pull off something as bold as the TD Centre. It meant thinking about what the city would become instead of just coping with what it was. Those qualities sometimes seem lacking in today’s Toronto. There are still things we can learn from those dark towers.

First, don’t be afraid of tall buildings.
Second, investing in quality pays.
Third, maintain what you have.
Fourth, pay attention to details.
Finally, always think about the future. Toronto, and Canada, were in a risk-taking frame of mind when the first tower took shape. Expo 67, the wildly successful world’s fair, was under way in Montreal. The striking new Toronto City Hall by Finnish architect Viljo Revell had opened two years earlier.
'60s  ambitions  architecture  boldness  foresight  history  lessons_learned  Marcus_Gee  skyscrapers  Bay_Street  TD_Bank  Toronto  design  forward_looking  PATH  detail_oriented  minimalism  quality  Expo_67  risk-taking  mindsets  pay_attention 
may 2015 by jerryking
The PNC when in power did not amend the constitution to protect African Guyanese should it ever lose office - - Georgetown, Guyana
JUNE 25, 2011 | Stabroek News | M. Maxwell.

"Political power in this country is a zero-sum game thanks to the PNC and more pointedly to Forbes Burnham, who replaced a good (not great, but good) constitution with a monstrosity in 1980. ....The PNC had sufficient opportunity from at least 1985 with his demise to before the election of 1992 to implement constitutional and institutional reform that would protect African Guyanese and other minorities in the future following free and fair elections where ethnic voting would put the heavily Indian-supported PPP into power for a long time. ....However, the PNC failed African Guyanese in particular and Guyanese in general. A great opportunity to rewrite the constitution to benefit the minorities of this country of minorities was missed. The presidency continues to destroy this nation. ...Instead of beneficial change to protect its constituency and the Guyanese public in general, some charlatans who sat atop the PNC heap in 1992 ran for the hills leaving the African masses with no constitutional or institutional protection against exactly what they complain of today. It was a classic act of the shallow thinking, missing foresight and ineptitude
Afro-Guyanese  constituencies  constitutions  Guyana  failure  foresight  history  ineptitude  letters_to_the_editor  LFSB  minorities  minority_rights  PNC  zero-sum_games 
september 2014 by jerryking
Today’s Titans Can Learn From Fall of U.S. Steel - NYTimes.com
JULY 3, 2014 | NYT |By FLOYD NORRIS.

it was the run-up to that strike, as well as the eventual terms of the settlement, that paved the way for the decline of the company and the industry it led. The episode opened the door for surging imports and eventually for wage increases that the companies could ill afford...The United States economy is no longer so dependent on heavy manufacturing, a development that would have taken place even if the men running U.S. Steel had far more foresight than they did. But they might have coped with it far better than they did. They might have found a way to better use newer technology that enabled companies like Nucor, which remains in the S.&P. 500 and whose market value is four times that of U.S. Steel, to prosper making steel.

More broadly, the descent of U.S. Steel from all powerful to also-ran might be worth contemplating by those who now seem to be astride the world economy, a list that could include companies in Wall Street, Silicon Valley and China.

Michelle Applebaum, a now-retired steel analyst whom I have relied upon for insights since the 1980s, when she was at Salomon Brothers, says that one reason the 1959 strike proved disastrous for the big steel companies was that it showed customers they had choices...When the strike did end, workers received minimal wage increases, but they also obtained a cost-of-living provision to ensure that wages and benefits kept up with inflation. That would prove to be valuable for them in later years. Steel users had learned how to deal with imported steel, a lesson they did not forget.
steel  lessons_learned  '60s  unions  labour  S&P  JFK  strikes  history  Salomon_Brothers  U.S._Steel  cost-of-living  Nucor  imports  research_analysts  foresight  decline 
july 2014 by jerryking
The Christie’s Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen on Working the Room - NYTimes.com
Interview by ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Published: January 3, 2014

How much do you think the auctioneer affects sale prices?
It’s very difficult to judge, but I think that a good auctioneer can certainly bring 20 percent to the value of major works of art.

Just as Detroit finally seems to be at the beginning of a revival, it faces the prospect of trying be once again be a great city without a great museum. Imagine New York without the Met, or Chicago without the Art Institute. If the DIA is forced down this road, the very collectors mentioned above, from Asia, Russia, and the Middle East, will snap up a collection that has required 128 years and the generosity and foresight of thousands of people to create, and which would likely never be seen in public again.
Andrew_Sorkin  collectors  art  auctions  Christie's  foresight  long-term  museums  far-sightedness  Detroit  generosity 
january 2014 by jerryking
What fatal flaw led us so deeply into debt?
October 18, 1997 | Globe & Mail | William Thorsell.

The Unheavenly City by Edward Banfield.

Wisdom has three practical dimensions (with intuition providing a fourth for the truly sage person). The first part of wisdom is knowledge, the second is context based on experience, the third is a long perspective on time......the more forward-looking you are, the higher your social class is. People who live a great deal of their intellectual life in the future derive two great advantages over those who do not: They avoid predictable damage to their interests, and they exploit opportunities that might otherwise be lost to others.

This requires a high tolerance for delayed gratification.

In his engaging book, Future Perfect, Stanley Davis argues that most people are stuck managing the results of things that have already happened....the aftermath. Great leaders manage what has not yet happened....the beforemath. "People who take out life insurance and have home mortgages are managing the beforemath...they are managing the consequences of events that have not yet taken place."
William_Thorsell  books  instant_gratification  delayed_gratification  sophisticated  social_classes  debt  debt_crisis  wisdom  long-term  intuition  far-sightedness  beforemath  anticipating  contextual  forward_looking  foresight  aftermath 
july 2013 by jerryking
Carpe Diem Nation - NYTimes.com
February 11, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.

Europeans who settled America gave their lives a slingshot shape. They pulled back so they could shoot forward. They volunteered to live in harsh conditions today so their descendants could live well for centuries. The pioneers who traveled West did the same thing. So has each generation of immigrants — sacrificing the present for the sake of the future.

This slingshot manner of life led to one of those true national clichés:..This future-oriented mentality had practical effects. For decades, government invested heavily in long-range projects like railroads and canals...Today, Americans have inverted this way of thinking. Instead of sacrificing the present for the sake of the future, Americans now sacrifice the future for the sake of the present...Why have Americans lost their devotion to the future? Part of the answer must be cultural. The Great Depression and World War II forced Americans to live with 16 straight years of scarcity. In the years after the war, people decided they’d had enough. There was what one historian called a “renunciation of renunciation.” We’ve now had a few generations raised with this consumption mind-set. There’s less of a sense that life is a partnership among the dead, the living and the unborn, with obligations to those to come....If the president were to propose an agenda for the future, he’d double spending on the National Institutes of Health. He’d approve the Keystone XL pipeline. He’d cut corporate tax rates while adding a progressive consumption tax. He’d take money from Social Security and build Harlem Children’s Zone-type projects across the nation. He’d means test Medicare and use the money to revive state universities and pay down debt.
David_Brooks  future  Obama  Great_Depression  WWII  instant_gratification  intergenerational_rivalry  delayed_gratification  foresight  far-sightedness  forward_looking  sacrifice  Keystone_XL  long-term  social_trust  consumption  the_Greatest_Generation  Carpe_diem  long-range  railroads  canals 
february 2013 by jerryking
Meet the man who shaped 20th-century Toronto - The Globe and Mail
JOHN LORINC
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 18, 2012

Rowland Caldwell Harris – who began a 33-year term as works commissioner a century ago this week – left his civic fingerprints all over Toronto, building hundreds of kilometres of sidewalks, sewers, paved roads, streetcar tracks, public baths and washrooms, landmark bridges and even the precursor plans to the GO commuter rail network.

“The significance of Harris a hundred years later is that we’re still living fundamentally in the city he imagined,” observes Dalhousie architecture professor Steven Mannell, who studies his career and has advised city officials on an extensive rehabilitation of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, due to be finished next year.

Mr. Harris famously added a second deck to the Prince Edward Viaduct in anticipation of a subway line that wasn’t built for decades. What’s less well known is that Mr. Harris was a photo buff who, in 1930, presided over the city’s first planning exercise – a process that led to construction of congestion-easing arterials such as Dundas Street East and the parkway extension of Mount Pleasant through Rosedale and up towards St. Clair.
John_Lorinc  Toronto  trailblazers  R.C._Harris  architecture  wastewater-treatment  infrastructure  municipalities  urban  urban_planning  landmarks  bridges  foresight  imagination  TTC  '30s  city_builders 
may 2012 by jerryking
Fort Leavenworth and the Eclipse of Nationhood - 96.09
September 1996 | The Atlantic | by Robert D. Kaplan.

Here historical precedent rules. Officers study previous battles and
interventions, and the political circumstances surrounding them, the way
law students study torts. The underlying message is that knowledge of
the past helps foresight, and those with foresight accrue power....."The
military," Major Kellett-Forsyth told me, "is in the nation-state
world. The media represents the postmodern, or transnational world.
Overseas, [U.S. soldiers] sit down with each other. The American media
sits down with foreign journalists: that's its socialization group."
U.S._Army  Robert_Kaplan  military_academies  foresight  civilian-military_relations  think_tanks  far-sightedness  historical_precedents 
august 2011 by jerryking
Recession Strategies: Companies Need to Focus on Future as Well as Present - WSJ.com
JUNE 22, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | Executive Briefing:

In Dr. Govindarajan’s three-box framework, Box One involves managing the present—for example, improving the efficiency of today’s businesses. Box Two involves selectively forgetting the past. And Box Three? That’s about creating the future. Often, Dr. Govindarajan maintains, companies spend too much of their time managing Box One—the present—and think that’s strategy. Instead, he argues, companies need to spend more time and energy on thinking about Box Two and Box Three.

Preparing for the Recovery
Despite the recession, companies must do more than just play defense.
When thinking about innovation, companies need to go beyond cost cutting
and spend more time thinking about what (Vijay Govindarajan) terms as
"Box Two and Box Three—selectively forgetting the past and creating the
future".

----
BUSINESS INSIGHT:Can companies really plan today for the year 2025?

DR. GOVINDARAJAN: You cannot plan for the year 2025, but you can prepare for it. There’s a big difference in my mind between planning for the future and preparing for it. Preparing for the future simply involves asking what the broad trends are. If people in your organization can at least have a shared perspective on some of the big, nonlinear shifts that may happen, you can begin to think about actions that may be relevant if such shifts occur—if say, technology in your business changes in certain ways. You want to do your current plan in a way that prepares your organization for the future.

The future is full of surprises; you know that. What you want is to be able to prepare to respond and adapt and benefit from surprises. And that’s what happens when you explicitly think about 2025 in 2009.
breakthroughs  contingency_planning  cost-cutting  economic_downturn  far-sightedness  foresight  forward_looking  high-risk  innovation  large_payoffs  nonlinear  offensive_tactics  recessions  scenario-planning  strategy  surprises  Vijay_Govindarajan 
june 2009 by jerryking
Resilience vs. Anticipation: The West is resilient and can roll with the shocks. The East copes through anticipation, the static planning that assumes perfect foresight. - Reason Magazine
August 25, 1997 | Reason | by Virginia Postrel. Great article
outlining the different approaches to living life, business, etc.
There's an East coast "anticipation" or planning approach vs. a West
coast "resilience" approach.
resilience  strategy  anticipating  business_planning  forward_looking  foresight 
may 2009 by jerryking

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