The illusion of controlling the future has always been with us designing and implementing development projects and programmes. Tool after tool we have had an uncomfortable relationship with the idea that development is very messy, risky, prone to failure as well as success. Forecast and planning are key activities in our work: theories of change, logframes, the old zopp, outputs, outcomes, goal. All this to maintain some control on the direction we take in our programmes and what to do.
While forecasting is very difficult (some or most would say impossible) it was interesting to hear in the podcast below that superforecasters do actually exist and they know how to look into the future. Who are they? Are they real?
They are the ones who are ready to change the way they see and understand things. They are the ones who do not walk a straight causal line. They are the ones who are flexible and ready to accept that they need to change their ideas or point of view. Sound a bit like the Doing Development Differently approach, isn’t it?
Listen to Tim Harford and the story about super-economist Irving Fisher and the fortune he lost. John Maynard Keynes and the fortunes he lost and regained. The 18 years research project by Canadian-born psychologist Philip Tetlock on experts’ forecast and their struggles to change their minds
LSE public Lectures: How to see into the future
Download audio: http://goo.gl/e0CZbG
Article on FT: http://goo.gl/jXHYzX