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Profiting from Uncertainty December 7, 2009

Posted by Hannah Davies in Profiting From Uncertainty, [Books] Ways of Thinking.
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I was intrigued by the title of this book – it seemed to me an interesting concept – so I thought I’d check it out. Its central tenet is that we live in an uncertain world; that people dislike uncertainty and find it hard to make fully rational decisions around dealing with uncertainty. If you can therefore find an effective way to prepare for uncertainty as a business leader, you’re in a great position to get ahead of your competitors when uncertain events strike.

What the book essentially offers is a framework for business leaders to prepare for uncertainty, drawing on elements of different strategies such as scenario planning, options thinking and dynamic monitoring. It is very methodical and simple in its approach and its tenet is, I think, a strong one – the evidence it gives to support it is certainly compelling. The author also draws on some excellent examples of businesses which have and haven’t prepared appropriately and these, too, provide very real, interesting insights.

Despite the intriguing title, this book turned out to be quite a traditional, dry business book. What it offers is a compelling argument and a great business framework, and one that I could certainly see myself using as a business leader. But it didn’t leave me feeling challenged or open my mind up to completely new perspectives or approaches in a way that many other elements of the course has done. I guess I felt a little disappointed that it was so firmly in the traditional ‘business’ realm. Whilst it delivered on its value proposition, this book would not feel out of place in any of my other MBA classes; and I’ve come to expect a little more from Design Systems thinking books!

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