Profiting from Uncertainty

Strategies for Succeeding No Matter What the Future Brings

Profiting from Uncertainty

What manager is not anxious about the future? We live in a white-knuckled age of rapid technological change and global instability. But uncertainty is not the enemy, says management expert Paul J. H. Schoemaker. It is where the greatest opportunities are. To unlock these opportunities, however, requires a very different approach to strategy and implementation. In this pioneering book, Dr. Schoemaker presents a systematic approach that combines concepts such as scenario planning, options thinking, and dynamic monitoring to create novel strategies for profiting from ambiguity.

Building on his experience with more than one hundred consulting projects in fields ranging from health care to manufacturing, from utilities to financial services, Schoemaker shows how major corporations throughout the world have used his pathbreaking methodology to prepare for an uncertain future and profit from it. In this first comprehensive approach to the subject, Schoemaker shows the reader (1) how to develop and analyze multiple industry scenarios, (2) craft nimble strategies with just the right amount of flexibility, (3) implement them using an options approach, and (4) make real-time adjustments through dynamic monitoring. As a leading academic thinker and practitioner, the author draws on the frontiers of decision science, organization theory, strategy, and cognitive psychology to integrate the most practical contributions these various fields have made to navigating uncertainty.

More than any other capability, skill in seizing initiatives in shifting, unpredictable circumstances is the key to success. Profiting from Uncertainty provides a road map to do just that. This book was first published in 2002, well ahead of the mega turmoil that befell the world in 2008 and beyond. The methods and tools described here have been used by many companies and are even more relevant today than when originally published. You can’t do without them.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743223287 | 
  • July 2002

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About the Authors

Paul Schoemaker

Paul J. H. Schoemaker, PhD, a world-renowned authority on decision making and scenario-based strategic management, is chairman and CEO of Decision Strategies International, Inc. Formerly a strategic planner with Royal Dutch/Shell's scenario-planning group in London, Dr. Schoemaker has coauthored several books, including Decision Traps and Winning Decisions. In 2000, he co-edited Wharton on Managing Emerging Technologies and coauthored Peripheral Vision (both with George Day). His latest books are Chips, Clones and Living Beyond 100 and Brilliant Mistakes. Schoemaker is the author of a landmark 1995 article, "Scenario Planning," the second most requested reprint in the forty-one-year history of Sloan Management Review. In 2000, he was awarded the Best Paper prize by the Strategic Management Society, which publishes the leading academic journals in the field. Schoemaker also serves as Research Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School, where he teaches decision making and strategy. For more than ten years he taught at the University of Chicago, and he has been a visiting professor with Cedep at Insead in France. Schoemaker is the founder and Executive Chairman of Decision Strategies International (DecisionStrat.com), which specializes in strategic decision making and leadership development, with offices in the US, Europe, and Asia.

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