How certain can we be about uncertainty?

The answer is 100% – anything we map out as a plan for the future will be characterized by risk and uncertainty.


We can quantify risk but under many scenarios the only thing we can say about uncertainty is it will always be on the horizon.

What do we do when an initiative is impacted by a significant negative event?

A practical example of an unanticipated negative event is a product development initiative using a particular technology that gets hit by a leapfrog technology.

E.g. You might be in the process of perfecting a new type of gasoline engine and simultaneously be hit with an oil price drop (this week) plus an announcement by Toyota (this week) that they plan to focus on powering automobiles via fuel cells.

The fact that cars with fuel cells can provide an electrical feed that can handle some of your household electrical needs for a couple of days is bad news to the makers of residential standby generators, although this means you pretty much have to avoid driving until the power company grid comes back on-line unless you have two cars.

I wonder how long residential standby generator manufacturers have known about the possibility of using a car as a backup generator.

Adaptive Case Management is a methodology that allows knowledge workers to change course on short notice. ACM is not particularly helpful predicting uncertainty.

Building and maintaining KnowledgeBases can help you to keep an eye on open options, on technology, the competition.

If you take the trouble include KPIs in your Kbase and take the time to challenge trends in your KPIs by carrying out free-form searches across your Kbase, you may have a leg up on your competitors.

How do we find people who are good at predicting the future?

Answer, it’s pretty much pointless.

They are difficult to find – most of them retire to fortified islands in the Caribbean and disconnect their phones.



Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2020 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA), CvX Productions, Global Initiatives LLC or HNCT LLC Number of accessing countries 2010-2020/2/15 : 154
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1 Response to How certain can we be about uncertainty?

  1. I did check the meaning of “having a leg up” – apparently it’s a good thing for people.

    On the other hand, when a dog “has a leg up” its usually not a good thing.


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