In 2011, IARPA launched a four-year prediction tournament in which five researcher-led teams competed. Each team could recruit, train, and experiment however it saw fit. Predictions were due at 9 a.m. every day. The questions were hard: Will a European Union member withdraw by a target date? Will the Nikkei close above 9,500?

    Tetlock, along with his wife and collaborator, the psychologist Barbara Mellers, ran a team named the Good Judgment Project. Rather than recruit decorated experts, they issued an open call for volunteers. After a simple screening, they invited 3,200 people to start forecasting. Among those, they identified a small group of the foxiest forecasters—bright people with extremely wide-ranging interests and unusually expansive reading habits, but no particular relevant background—and weighted team forecasts toward their predictions. They destroyed the competition.

    Tetlock and Mellers found that not only were the best forecasters foxy as individuals, but they tended to have qualities that made them particularly effective collaborators. They were “curious about, well, really everything,” as one of the top forecasters told me. They crossed disciplines, and viewed their teammates as sources for learning, rather than peers to be convinced. When those foxes were later grouped into much smaller teams—12 members each—they became even more accurate. They outperformed—by a lot—a group of experienced intelligence analysts with access to classified data.

Apparently this article is an excerpt from a book. Its got my interest.


Well that just brought a lot of things into the light for me!

I am not a specialist in anything, and I find all systems and processes interesting. I will often sit in meetings with specialists who get completely wound up in the tiniest issues, and make them into the biggest problems... while completely losing sight of the fact that nobody actually uses the feature/function they are so wound up about.

I've also watched so many of my generalist friends get to senior leadership positions due to their "foxlike" abilities.

This is a book I am definitely going to buy...

posted 394 days ago