Amused to see all the excitement about ‘lean start-ups’ and continual experimentation to build a business in an uncertain environment.  See “Discovery-driven planning” by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan in HBR.  From when? July-August 1995.

(Showing my age, aren’t I?)


An article in the Harvard Business Review “A picture’s worth a thousand numbers” ( makes the point that graphs and simulations enable people to play with uncertainty and so better understand the dynamics and the implications of trade-offs and decisions they make.


Which is exactly the message from Sam Savage of  ( at the recent conference at the Centre for Risk Studies ( ( is developing tools and disseminating the idea of using readily available functions in Microsoft Excel to create pictures of outcomes from probabilistic sequences of events – so creating tools for an open discussion of uncertainty and risk.  And, perhaps more importantly, getting away from the delusions perpetrated by seeking a ‘single number’ to communicate a complex situation.


And the need to dispel the delusion of certainty given by a single number applies not only in risk management, but also in product management (think sales forecast figure), R&D management (time to project completion), and so the list goes on – in fact in all the domains where chance plays a role.