Forecasting Decisions By Stepping in Other Persons Shoes
Introduction (Via Principles of Forecasting)
Have you ever been told you should “stand in the other person’s shoes” in order to predict the decisions they will make? This is a common and plausible recommendation in popular business books and everyday life but, to date, there has been no experimental evidence on its usefulness. Kesten Green and Scott Armstrong found, when they formalized this advice in the form of a method they call “role thinking”, that the forecasts were little more accurate than guessing what the decisions might be. This finding is consistent with earlier findings that situations involving interactions between people with different roles are too complicated for experts to make useful predictions about when they rely on trying to think through what will happen. The group forecasting method of simulated interaction, on the other hand, allows realistic representations of group interactions and does provide accurate forecasts. Green and Armstrong’s paper has been accepted for publication in a special issue of the International Journal of Forecasting on group forecasting.