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Instinct tells us to pull in and focus on the present when crises hit and uncertainty overwhelms us. But this instinct is just as wrong as the instinct that tells us to turn against a skid on an icy road as drivers.
Like driving, forecasting is a skill that can be learned. In fact, a few simple rules can go a long way to finding comfort with — and effectively navigating through — uncertainty in the service of effective strategy formulation.
Paul Saffo is a forecaster with over two decades of experience in helping corporate and governmental clients understand and respond to the dynamics of large-scale, long-term change. He is the Managing Director of Foresight at Discern Analytics and teaches a class on forecasting at Stanford in the Engineering School. Paul is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. His essays have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, Fortune, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, and the Washington Post. Paul holds degrees from Harvard College, Cambridge University, and Stanford University.