Author’s note: I regularly find myself assailed by questions about the future from business leaders, colleagues, and friends. They ask about companies, elections, technology, their own lives. Their questions imply that the future is knowable, hidden like the Wizard of Oz behind a curtain that only the fearless or gifted can pull aside. This strikes me as magical thinking, not least because research shows that the time horizon for accurate forecasting is shrinking: 400 days if you’re rigorous, closer to 150 days if you’re not.
This is a huge change whose impact few individuals or organizations have fully absorbed or…
Despite all the warnings from political scientists that we might not see a clear winner of the presidential election on election night, the uncertainty of last night’s vote count felt disorientating, and many expressed frustration with polls and forecast models that suggested we might have a more definitive result.
Back in April, just weeks after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, I spoke with Mervyn King, an economist, former governor of the Bank of England, and co-author of the book Radical Uncertainty. In our conversation, centering on the business response to the coronavirus outbreak, he explained why assigning probabilities to uncertain…
Demand forecasting — predicting what products or services customers want, how much, and when — is one of the most important disciplines in running a business, dictating decisions on staffing levels, inventory, pricing, supply chain management, and more.
As tricky as demand forecasting can be even in the best of times, Covid-19 has blown it to pieces, jumbling normal data patterns and leaving companies uncertain on how to anticipate consumer demand for their products and services.
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