How accurate are predictions? Every day we have plans. Even if that plan is to do nothing. At some point understanding the weather becomes a factor in the decision of what to do, where to go or what to wear. A product manager at Minitab answered a question we have wondered about. How accurate are those weather forecasters?”
There are three main forecast periods: 10-day, five-day and next-day. The experiment recorded 10-day, five-day, and next-day weather forecasts. Over 30 days, the rolling forecast and the actual weather was recorded. Some days were more accurate than others. Not surprising, the 10-day forecast was less accurate than the five-day forecast, and the five-day was less accurate than the next-day forecast.
As the prediction date moved closer to the actual date, less variability was observed in the prediction. Usually, we’re talking about the standard deviation of defects, whether in the technological or manufacturer space. However, in our case, we’re talking about the extent which one weather forecaster would agree with another. Do experts mostly agree or mostly disagree? A low standard deviation isn’t always good, and a high isn’t always bad. Standard deviation is a factor of the observation data spread. In our case, how close one weather forecaster is to another in their predictions to the actual forecast.
The standard deviations varied based on the forecast period. The 10-day forecast had a standard deviation of 6.2 degrees, with the high temp off as much as 8 degrees and the low temp off by as much as 17 degrees. The standard deviations of the five-days (4.3 degrees) and the next-days (2.1 degrees) were less pronounced.
Does any of this even matter? What if we weren’t talking about weather forecasters? What if we were talking about experts predicting the lack of impact of blockchain on business or experts predicting the impact of new innovative technologies? Think about the business impact of blockchain in 10 years, five years and one year.
Brilliant innovations or dreadful embarrassments?
It depends on which expert you ask. Television, radio, telephone, transportation, computers, space exploration and medicine are riddled with renowned experts who offered horrible predictions. The most humorous were the most pessimistic. Keep that in mind as experts offer ridiculously pessimistic outlooks on the impact of blockchain technologies on the business, the economy, and the world.
Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
Yahoo Finance reports that the market capitalization of the railway industry at $317,948 billion in 2016.
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
– Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
The personal computer industry is about $24 billion, not bad considering that smartphones have shifted the PC market. Adding smartphones (iPhone, Android) dramatically raises this growth estimates. Global revenue from smartphones exceeded $400.7 billion in 2015.
There is no hope for the fanciful idea of reaching the moon because of insurmountable barriers to escaping the Earth’s gravity.
What did each of these individuals have in common? They all were among the most renowned industry experts of their times, and each offered horrible advice. It’s comical to think about big innovations ignored by experts occurring 100 or 200 years ago.
Peter B. Nichol is a business and technology executive recognized for achievements in digital innovation by the CIO 100 awards program, the MIT Sloan School of Management, Computerworld, BRM Institute and the Project Management Institute. As managing director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CxO advisory services practice, which drives strategies across digital, innovation and blockchain technologies.
As the former head of information technology at Access Health CT (AHCT), Connecticut's health insurance exchange (HIX), Peter oversaw AHCT's online marketplace systems and worker case-management and electronic integration with the systems of federal agencies, state agencies and insurance carriers. He was responsible for AHCT's industry-leading digital platform, which transformed consumer- and retail-oriented services for the health insurance industry. For this, Peter was recognized as a finalist for the 2015 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award.
Peter also championed AHCT's digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile applications that were recognized by CIO magazine in the 2015 CIO 100 awards. Peter also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation and was honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Previously, Peter was the program director for AHCT's marketplace implementation, providing the most stable HIX launch, on Oct. 1, 2013. The system helped reduce Connecticut's uninsured rate by more than half. It was recognized as a national model for success and was a finalist for the Project Management Institute's Project of the Year Award in 2014.
Recently, Peter was recognized by the BRM Institute as a 2019 BRM Excellence Award Winner in two categories: 2019 BRM Trailblazer and 2019 BRM Practitioner. The BRM Trailblazer award is for individuals within organizations who are making an impact on global BRM adoption. The BRM Practitioner award is for innovative initiatives implemented within the past year to help BRMs advance their leadership and impact on the world.
Peter has a B.S. in computer information systems from Bentley University and an MBA summa cum laude from Quinnipiac University. He earned a PMP certification in 2001 and is a certified Scrum Master, SAFe Agilist (SA), SAFe Practitioner (SP), and Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He also is the first leader to be globally credentialed as a Master of Business Relationship Management (MBRM) by the BRM Institute, a growing organization now spanning 85 countries. Peter is a commercial-rated pilot and a master scuba diver. He understands, based on firsthand experience, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Peter B. Nichol and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications Inc. or its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.