Big Hairy Predictions

 We in the consulting industry are very cautious as to the predictions that we make, despite often being asked to forecast future scenarios and outcomes.  A recent interview between the Freakonomics gents and academic Phil Tetlock included a quote that got me thinking, “That is indeed the $64,000 question: Why very smart people have been content to have so little accountability for accuracy in forecasting?”

Tetlock goes on to outline some of the characteristics of accurate forecasting, plugging his book Superforecasting which is on my reading list for next few weeks.

One of my core responsibilities in day-to-day project work is to ensure that clients are aware of the limitations of my advice, and are reminded of my limited ability to exactly predict the future (as highlighted by my astounding run of football tipping wooden spoons). I think however this blog will be a little different. For each of our blogs we are challenging ourselves to make a ‘big hairy prediction’. That is, we are consciously extending our thinking to include an assessment of the probable consequences of our observations. We will include, where relevant, an assessment of probability of the prediction occurring, along with timeframes and implications.

We also undertake to regularly report back on our accuracy and learnings from doing this. It should be fun and hopefully a little insightful.

Big Hairy Prediction: By the end of 2016 Kaitlyn will prove to be a far more accurate predictor than Jason. I will however land a big prediction that, through my cognitive biases, will reinforce to me just how good I am at this.