Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Evidence-Based Planning

Everybody's favourite internet-book-retailer-cum-cloud-computing-giant is planning for a wide range of outcomes after Brexit.
"Like any business, we consider a wide range of scenarios in planning discussions so that we’re prepared to continue serving customers and small businesses who count on Amazon, even if those scenarios are very unlikely," a spokesperson said.

However, a Government spokesperson dismissed speculation about civil unrest, saying
"Where is the evidence to suggest that would happen?"

To which one might counter

"Where is the evidence to suggest that wouldn't happen?"



There is a methodological gulf between these two positions. One is planning for things you can't prove won't happen. The other is NOT planning for things you can't prove WILL happen.

The political problem with planning for things that might not happen, is that people may criticize you for wasting time and money on something that didn't happen. Whereas if you fail to plan for something that is unlikely to happen, and then it does happen, you can appeal to bad luck. Or the wrong kind of snow.

As with other modes of decision-making, planning simply to avoid censure is not necessarily conducive to good outcomes.


Gareth Corfield, I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit (The Register, 23 July 2018)

Rob Davies, No-deal Brexit risks 'civil unrest', warns Amazon's UK boss (The Guardian, 23 July 2018)

Related Post: Decision-Making Models (March 2017)

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