1st Edition

Upgrading Leadership's Crystal Ball Five Reasons Why Forecasting Must Replace Predicting and How to Make the Strategic Change in Business and Public Policy

By Jeffrey C. Bauer Copyright 2014
    168 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    168 Pages
    by Productivity Press

    Clearly, concisely, and with many examples from public and private enterprise, Upgrading Leadership’s Crystal Ball shows why predictions are usually wrong and presents a better way to look at the future—forecasting. This book is essential-reading for anyone who needs to make the best possible strategic decisions for moving an organization forward in today’s rapidly changing environment.

    Dr. Bauer supplies an insightful comparison of the two mainstream approaches for looking ahead. Although predicting and forecasting are usually used as synonyms for a single process, they are conceptually and methodologically quite different. He explains why everyday failure to operationalize these differences robs us of power to envision and pursue good futures, especially when we are headed in the wrong direction.

    Readers will learn the real-world value of distinguishing between predicting (extrapolating historical trends) and forecasting (estimating the probabilities of possibilities). Following a description of predictive modeling and a discussion of five reasons why it fails so often in current applications, Dr. Bauer explains the superiority of forecasting and how to do it.

    To complete readers’ understanding of the many compelling reasons for making the shift from predicting to forecasting, Upgrading Leadership’s Crystal Ball presents a practical approach to strategic planning in unpredictable times. It concludes with an analysis of the future of big data and its likely impact on the future.

    Dr. Bauer is uniquely qualified to write this important book; he is trained in both predicting (economics) and forecasting (meteorology). Author of more than 250 publications, he is internationally recognized not only for long-term success in foretelling the future of medical science and health care, but also for successful innovations to create a better delivery system. This book distills the lessons garnered over his 40 year career as economist and futurist into a guide that other leaders can use to avoid problems and create better options in any realm.

    The book includes a foreword by Dr. Stan Gryskiewicz, author of Positive Turbulence.

    New Definitions
    The Difference Matters: Chance and Uncertainty
    The Content to Come
    The Less-Is-More Approach
    Citing Precedent

    The Emblematic Crystal Ball
    Scientific Foundations of Predicting and Modeling
    Appropriate Uses of Predicting
    Statistical Foundations of Predicting
    Econometrics and Modeling
    The Growth of Modeling
    Univariate Predictive Models
    Multivariate Predictive Models
    Additional Readings

    Five Fatal Flaws of Predicting
    1. Discontinuities in System Dynamics
         Trending Toward Disorder
    2. Violations of Model Assumptions
    3. Deficiencies of Available Data
         Validity and Reliability
    4. Failures of Previous Predictions
    5. Diversions from Strategic Innovation
    Additional Readings

    Forecasting’s Foundations
    From Predicting to Forecasting the Weather
    Identifying Explanatory Variables
    Specifying the Model
    Measuring the Explanatory Variables
    Analyzing Variations over Time
    Assembling the Forecast
    Interpreting a Forecast
         What Makes a Good Forecaster?
    Incorporating the Role of Climate Change
    Expecting the Unexpected
    Additional Readings

    Forecasting in Dynamic Systems
    How to Identify Explanatory Variables
    How to Specify the Model
    How to Measure the Explanatory Variables
    How to Analyze Variations over Time
         Assigning Weight
    How to Assemble the Forecast
    From Weather to Whether

    From Forecasts to Strategies
    Expecting Multiple Outcomes
    Creating the Future from the Forecast
    Strategic Planning
    Strategy versus Tactics
    The Time Dimensions of Strategy and Tactics
    Basics of a Strategic Plan
    Additional Readings

    Postscript: Big Data


    Jeffrey C. Bauer

    Jeff Bauer’s new book positively crackles with energy and brio, whether he’s busting a myth or sharing an anecdote about WWII meteorology. Like any truly learned teacher, his message is simple and accessible: predictions give us the illusion of precision and trap us in the duality of Right and (mostly) Wrong. A forecast, by contrast, illuminates a garden of likely outcomes; it stirs our creativity and poises us for action.
    —Tim Ogilvie, CEO, Peer Insight and co-author of Designing for Growth