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Posted by: on January 10, 2018

Large dam development: from Trojan horse to Pandora’s box

New paper by Rhodante Ahlers, Margreet Zwarteveen, and Karen Bakker, in The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, 2017, Chapter 25, pp. 556-576. Abstract: We argue that the context of dam development today is radically different from that of the 20th century, illustrated by two examples: the case of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile […]

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Posted by: on December 16, 2017

One belt, one road: is China a model to follow or avoid for infrastructure inves...

China’s three-decade infrastructure investment boom shows few signs of abating. Is China’s economic growth a consequence of its purposeful investment? Is China a prodigy in delivering infrastructure from which rich democracies could learn? The prevalent view in the economics literature and policies derived from it is that a high level of infrastructure investment is a […]

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Posted by: on November 9, 2017

Creative error: a clarifying note

“One cannot read far in the history of great economic undertakings without being struck by instances in which entrepreneurial error appears to have been a condition of successful enterprise” “Creative error” describes a situation where error in decision making leads to successful outcomes. The concept was developed by John Sawyer at Harvard University during the […]

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Posted by: on September 27, 2017

Sue the forecaster?

Too many forecasters are fools or frauds. Forecasting fools should be sent back to school to learn new methods. Forecasting frauds should be fired and possibly prosecuted, depending on how serious their fraud is. Recently, for the first time in history, forecasting frauds have been prosecuted, sending shock waves through the global forecasting industry. [The […]

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Posted by: on July 17, 2017

Who’s hosting the Olympics? It’s time to do things differently

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has decided to allocate the next two Summer Olympic Games (probably to LA and Paris) in one go to try and make hosting more attractive. It has been forced to do this, as it is rapidly running out of cities willing to bid, let alone play host to the Summer or […]

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Posted by: on January 4, 2017

Eight rules for post-truth politics

The Oxford English Dictionary named ‘post-truth’ its 2016 word of the year. Here are eight rules for post-truth politics, based on my research on power and truth: Truth is context dependent. The context of truth is power. Power blurs the dividing line between truth and lies. Lies and spin presented as truth is a principal […]

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Posted by: on August 18, 2016

Do managers and planners learn from past mistakes?

Most theories of learning assume that decision makers learn from past mistakes. But is this actually true? As rightly observed by Donald Schön, ‘A theory about learning must deal with performance that improves over time. Performance that deteriorates, regresses, or merely swings from one mode of action to another does not qualify as learning.’* If […]

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