The Winter 2019 issue of Foresight—number 52—kicks off with Simon Clarke’s enthusiastic review of The Little (Illustrated) Book of Operational Forecasting by Dr. Steve Morlidge. Every year brings us new, inexperienced business-operations forecasters seeking solid practical advice to help ground them and set them off on a productive career path. As far as Simon is concerned, this book fits the bill in almost every respect. Morlidge’s objective, Simon notes, is a simple one: “help practitioners stop doing dumb stuff”—and the book pulls this off with a fine balancing act of not oversimplifying forecasting solutions or getting stuck in super-complex and challenging concepts.
Paul Goodwin, Foresight’s always entertaining Hot New Research Editor, keeps the issue rolling with his latest piece, this one on Scenarios and Forecasts and how they might complement and even support each other, with an eye toward whether scenarios can ultimately improve forecasts.
That brings us to our feature section for this issue: Forecasting the Future of Retail Forecasting by Foresight Associate Editor Stephan Kolassa. Retail worldwide is changing with breathtaking speed, and this titanic upheaval means that retail forecasting is facing huge challenges to adapt and keep up—and, as always, huge challenges present terrific opportunities as well. Additionally, Brian Seaman, Senior Director of Data Science at Walmart Labs, supplies an insightful and pointed Commentary on Stephan’s feature piece, while Stephan himself takes the spotlight in our Forecaster in the Field interview this issue.
In our World of Forecasting section, Spyros Makridakis, Ann Wakefield, and Richard Kirkham are the coauthors of Predicting Medical Risks and Appreciating Uncertainty, and what their article brings to light is more than a little disturbing. At the outset, the authors assert that “there is work still to be done in encouraging clinicians to communicate risk in a way that enables patients to contribute effectively to their own treatment decisions”—and this only scratches the surface of a range of issues that profoundly and systemically affect the medical profession as a whole.
This issue’s offering on Forecasting Practice is A Classification of Business Forecasting Problems by the aforementioned Stephan Kolassa and coauthor Tim Januschowski. Stephan and Tim note in their article that business forecasting covers the full spectrum of applications, and with that in mind they set forth a classification of forecasting problems.
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* Check out our new Foresight Guidebook, Forecast Accuracy Measurement: Pitfalls to Avoid and Practices to Adopt (2018), which offers a compendium of discussions on the subject by 15 authors.