One of the great 20th century philosophers, Major League Baseball player and pundit Yogi Berra, once opined, "It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future." And while we may nod at this oft-quoted remark, smirking at its cleverness, in business we nevertheless find ourselves every couple of years trying to do just this: forecast how the future will turn out. And most of us fail miserably at doing so. Business, for example, is littered with the remains of firms that engaged in high level (and often very expensive) strategic forecasting, only to end up in bankruptcy for not having foreseen how dramatically a particular change would impact their business or industry. Think of Tower Records, Blockbuster Video and Borders bookstores, who all continued to build new brick-and-mortar stores stocking obsolescent products as the digitalization of media and online retail options continued gathering steam. Or Kodak, who developed the digital camera but somehow missed its long-term ramifications on photographers. In the hospitality industry, will we one day look back and say the same thing about hotel companies not fully grasping the impact of the sharing economy phenomenon and the emergence of firms such as Housetrip and Airbnb?
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