About Paul

Dr. Paul J.H. Schoemaker is a pioneer in the field of decision sciences, among the first to combine the practical ideas of decision theory, behavioral economics, scenario planning, and risk management into a set of strategic decision-making tools for managers. He is co-author of a landmark book on the subject, Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time. Paul is also an entrepreneur: he is founder and executive chairman of Decision Strategies International, Inc. and co-founder of Strategic Radar, Inc.  Finally, Paul is a dedicated educator: he is research director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, served for five years as a director of the Decision Education Foundation, conducted hundreds of lectures and executive seminars around the world. A native of the Netherlands, Paul lives on the East Coast with his wife; they have two children.

As expert, entrepreneur, and educator in the field of strategic decision-making for managers, Paul J.H. Schoemaker not only conducts research and develops new tools for making better decisions but also tests them in the real world and teaches others how to use them.


Paul Schoemaker has advised more than 100 companies and non-profit organizations around the world. He is co-author of Decision Traps (Doubleday 1989) and Winning Decisions (Doubleday 2001), which together have sold well over 100,000 copies. He is also co-author of Profiting from Uncertainty (Free Press 2002), Peripheral Vision (Harvard Business Review Group 2006), and Chips, Clones and Living Beyond 100 (Pearson Ltd 2009). ) Paul has written over 100 academic and applied papers, which have appeared in such diverse journals as the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and The Journal of Economic Literature. Given their global applicability, his writings appear in at least 14 languages. His scholarly work ranks in the top one percent in academic citations globally as measured by the International Science Index (www.ISIHighlyCited.com). Ten years after its appearance, his 1995 article, “Scenario Planning,” ranked second as the most reprinted publication in the 50-year history of the Sloan Management Review. Right now, Paul is fleshing out his 2005 Harvard Business Review article, “The Wisdom of Deliberate Mistakes”, into a new book tentatively titled Brilliant Mistakes (Wharton Digital Press 2012), in which he shows managers how to plan mistakes as novel portals of discovery in science and business. CBS’s Sunday Morning  interviewed him about this counter-intuitive strategy (view the entire interview here).

Paul Schoemaker is founder and executive chairman of Decision Strategies International, Inc. (www.decisionstrat.com), a consulting and training firm specializing in strategic management, executive development, and multi-media software. This company helps organizations seize emerging opportunities sooner, in order to stay ahead of market trends, technologies, competitors and regulations. Its clients include nine of the ten 10 largest corporations worldwide, as well as many of the Fortune 100. Paul also co-founded Strategic Radar, Inc., a technology-platform company that helps organizations to track external changes and scan for early warning signals about the organization’s need to change strategic direction.  In addition, Paul has been an angel investor in technology-based ventures and served on the board of directors for several of these, including OmniChoice, RealHome.com, Strategic Radar and TLContact.  Paul recently assumed the role of chairman of two family-owned businesses: the first is one of Morton Salt’s largest wholesale distributors nationwide, Ohio-based Public Salt, Inc. (www.publicsalt.com), that sells safety salt, water softener, mulch, and related products. The second is a specialized food-additives business (www.vaessen-schoemaker.nl) based in the Netherlands that offers customized mixes and ingredients for the meat, fish, and dairy industry in and beyond Europe.  Practicing what he teaches, Paul is steering both companies in new strategic directions.

Paul Schoemaker is Research Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation (http://mackcenter.wharton.upenn.edu/) at the Wharton School where he often teams up with executives to tackle frontier challenges in innovation and strategy. Committed to life-long education, he relishes real-world problem-solving and action-learning programs inside his corporate clients or in the advanced management programs of Berkeley, Cedep at Insead, and Wharton to name a few.  For over twelve years, he was a full-time professor specializing in strategy and decision sciences at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago, and an early faculty member of its preeminent Center for Decision Research, which brought behavioral decision making to business schools.  Paul has taught over ten different university courses, ranging from highly quantitative to more qualitative and case-oriented, and reaching well over a thousand undergraduates, MBAs, and PhD students.  Paul also served as a board member of, and continues to support and advise, the Decision Education Foundation, which teaches decision-making skills to adolescents, in partnership with many U.S. high schools across the country.

DSI: Scenario Planning Example
Costs of Scenario Planning – Making Time for Strategy
Why Scenario Planning
Better Decision Making: Outlining an Effective Decision Process

Download Paul’s CV here