Interesting post by Andy McAfee about what he refers to as the Oracular approach to decision making. (Andy took over the Entrepreneurship course I taught while on sabbatical at MIT a few years ago. By all accounts he did an (even) better job than me!)
The above lists of characteristics are focused on a single fictional character in the advertising industry, but in my experience they’re fairly common across business oracles and their decisions in many real-world settings as well. When I reflect on how I’ve seen strategy, marketing, planning, and product design decisions made at large organizations, I see a lot of the stuff listed above.To be sure, I also see business oracles gathering lots of data, commissioning studies, and sometimes even running experiments. But I often get the sense that the point of all this activity is to confirm the soundness of the oracle’s initial idea, rather than to test it a state of affairs captured elegantly by this New Yorker cartoon. Several people at last week’s workshop on business experimentation observed that it takes months for many companies to set up even a simple experiment today, and opined that this is because of the great care taken to ensure the outcome.
I’m not going to try to summarize his post here, but I would add that a good Oracle is called an expert. And expertise is real – and it’s necessary at the Craft end of the Craft-to-science spectrum.