In Silicon Valley, everyone makes bets. Founders bet years of their lives on finding product market fit, investors bet billions on the future value of ambitious startups, and executives bet that their strategies will increase a company’s prospects. Here, predicting the future is not a theoretical superpower, it’s part of the job.
But our approach to prediction seems stuck in the past. Most business forecasts fail to include measurable outcomes and are not recorded, so it is hard to know if we are even getting better at them.
Research from organizational psychologist Philip Tetlock, the co-author of Superforecasting, suggests an alternative. Studying forecasting tournaments where anonymous experts predicted future events, Tetlock found that some forecasters could consistently predict better than others. Rather than possessing some innate talent, so-called “superforecasters” demonstrate what Tetlock describes as a “growth mindset,” or a willingness to learn from past mistakes and continually update their theoretical priors. Our ability to predict, like any other skill, can improve with practice