[daydream believer] Best paper on uncertainly proved the impossibility of prediction.



Strategy Under Uncertainty

by Hugh Courtney, Jane Kirkland, and Patrick Viguerie


Hi this is Takesh, CEO of su-re.co


I read this classic academic article on uncertainty again and found it very interesting. What's interesting is that the paper introduced Kodak and MSN as good examples of companies ;-). Do you know what happened to these companies? They have fallen into almost disrepair. The paper was supported by MacKenzie.co. The best strategic consulting company itself misjudged the size of the mobile phone market when AT&T asked to forecast of the mobile phone market. MacKenzie.co predicted the market size of the mobile phone as 900,000 by 2000. Do you know how many iPhone 12 are marketed on the 1st day --- 1.7 million and 2 million were sold on the first day of preorders on October 16, 2020!! Although the AT&T (Bell Labs) was the inventor of mobile phone (and of course the phone itself), they could not believe the future and believed the 'best' strategic consulting company and sold the technology. That misjudge by MacKenzie.co effectively bankrupted AT&T once.


In a society of increasing uncertainty, it is impossible to predict the future, and backcasting, where we create our future instead of forecasting, is becoming increasingly important in a portfolio of strategies. This paper is so funny because the best uncertainty experts proved that they could not predict 'good cases' in their best paper. This paper made my day, and I did not predict this experience either ;-)


The idea of 4 levels of uncertainties and strategy portfolio/postures is seriously interesting and highly recommend to read the paper from HBR.


 

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