Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Winter 2020

n LUMINARIES n M argaret Heffernan is a former tech executive, TED speaker, and BBC producer who has written several internationally- acclaimed books. We talked recently about some of the key themes in her latest book, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. HOW TO THRIVE IN UNCHARTED TIMES An Interview with Margaret Heffernan Kay: You mentioned that forecast- ing is a prime example of how reality is complex and cannot be reduced to an algorithm. Margaret: I became really interested in the degree to which even the best forecasting tech- niques today have limited accuracy and reliability. The people who studied forecasting and forecasting methods most carefully say that probably the best we can do is look about 400 days out, and that’s if you are a “super forecaster.” When you spend a great deal of your life doing this, you read widely with no ideological bias, and you are constantly comparing the forecast to what, in fact, happens, so that you are learning where your errors and mistakes and biases might be. If you’re like the rest of us, it’s probably closer to 150 days. By Kay Corry Aubrey n User Researcher and Trainer n Usability Resources, Inc. n Bedford, Massachusetts n kay@usabilityresources.net 34 QRCA VIEWS WINTER 2020 www.qrca.org