Psychology Prediction

Topics: Prediction, Future, Futurology Pages: 3 (879 words) Published: June 19, 2013
by David M. Smith | September 2, 2009 |
According to one of my favorite philosophers, Yogi Berra, Its hard to predict, especially the future”. He’s right but it doesn’t stop many people from trying. In fact predicting the future is essential to many aspects of our lives – in business, and beyond. Many professionals have the need to accurately predict outcomes of the future to be successful in their jobs. And many have occupations where predicting the future actually is their job, one way or another. As an analyst at Gartner, I am of course a good example of this.

Some of this is common sense. Some is controversial. Some goes completely against what most think and against what people are taught even at organizations who train people to do predictive type jobs. But it works for me.

Here are my ten guiding principles for accurate prediction:

1.Care about being right. This sounds obvious but circumstances and other requirements often get in the way. Professionals whose job involves making predictions face pressures to have an opinion, no matter what, and to generate visibility. This can lead to quickly formed opinions and overstating and over hyping things. While these things may in fact need to be part of a strategy, they do not have to be the primary goal. Tempering such behavior by placing the goal of being right at a higher priority is one of the real keys to accurate prediction. You can’t be afraid to be wrong, but you can’t place being right at lower priority and expect to be good at predicting.

2.Be an “innumerate”. Be extremely skeptical of any numbers. Many believe that numbers don’t lie. They don’t of course, but people do. And they state the numbers that they want to state to make their case. And they get things confused. Numbers are more useful in looking back at history than in predicting (looking back at history is helpful and numbers can help). Be especially wary of survey data. Often the questions are poorly formed and the...
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