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From FastCompany Magazine.


"Uncertainty is when you've defined the variable but don't know its value. Like when you roll a die and you don't know if it will be a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. But ambiguity is when you're not even sure what the variables are. You don't know how many dice are even being rolled or how many sides they have or which dice actually count for anything." Businesses that focus on uncertainty, says Patnaik, "actually delude themselves into thinking that they have a handle on things.

The article is about rapid change and adaptation, but honestly, it sounds like FastCompany has not changed a bit in 15 years. Still breathless. Still Chicken Soup for the middle manager's soul, much as I described it in 1998.


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Jack writes:

Maybe I'm naive, but I thought good managers understood that point very well. You never know exactly how things evolve, but you make estimates (uncertainty) and add sensitivity analysis to figure out how badly things would go if your estimate turns out to be wrong (ambiguity). But I have a feeling that true risk management (giving ambiguity more than lip service) is neither appreciated nor rewarded. All we want is a model output that gives us the answer we wanted in the first place. But that`s not risk management by any means...

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