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 served as CEO as well as Chairman of Decision Strategies International, Inc. and was co-founder of Strategic Radar, Inc.  Finally, Paul is a dedicated educator: he served for a decade as research director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and for five years as a director of the Decision Education Foundation, conducting 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 author or co-author of Decision Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 1993), Wharton on Managing Emerging Technologies (Wiley, 200), Profiting from Uncertainty (Free Press 2002), Peripheral Vision (Harvard Business Review Group 2006), Chips, Clones and Living Beyond 100 (Pearson Ltd 2009), Brilliant Mistakes (Wharton Digital Press, 2011), and Winning the Long Game (PublicAffairs/Perseus, 2014)  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 PsychologyBrain and Behavioral Sciences, and The Journal of Economic Literature. He has published 5 articles in the Harvard Business Review, 7 in Berkeley’s California Management Review, and 6 in the MIT’s Sloan Management Review.  Given their global applicability, his writings appear in over 15 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 then 50-year history of the Sloan Management Review. His book Brilliant Mistakes, which elaborated his HBR article about “The Wisdom of Deliberate Mistakes,” shows how managers can use mistakes on purpose as portals of discovery in science as well as business. CBS’s Sunday Morning interviewed Paul about the counter-intuitive strategy of making deliberate mistakes to spur innovation (view the entire interview here).

Paul Schoemaker was founder and executive chairman of Decision Strategies International, Inc. (DSI), a consulting and training firm specializing in strategic management, executive development, and multi-media software sold in 2016 to Heidrick & Struggles. DSI helped organizations seize emerging opportunities sooner, to stay ahead of market trends, technologies, competitors and regulations. Its clients include most of 10 largest corporations worldwide at the time, as well as many of the Fortune 100. Paul also co-founded Strategic Radar, Inc., a technology-platform company later acquired by DSI that let organizations track external changes and scan for early warning signals about the 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 also served as chairman of two family-owned businesses.  The first 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.  This company was sold as part of an LBO. The second one is Ohio-based Public Salt, Inc. (www.publicsalt.com), which is one of Morton Salt’s largest wholesale distributors in the USA. In addition to safety salt, this company also sells water softener, mulch, and related products, with Paul still as Chairman.

Paul Schoemaker served for a decade as Research Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the Wharton School, renamed in 2014 as the Mack Institute for Innovation Management (https://mackinstitute.wharton.upenn.edu/) where he remains as a Senior Fellow.  In this role, he often teamed up with executives to tackle frontier challenges in innovation and strategy. Committed to life-long education, Paul relishes real-world problem-solving and action-learning programs inside his corporate clients or in the advanced management programs of Berkeley’s Haas School, Cedep at Insead, and Wharton to name a few.  For over twelve years, Paul 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 and received a Nobel Prize in 2017.  Paul has taught over ten different university courses, ranging from highly quantitative to more qualitative and case-oriented, touching over a thousand undergraduates, MBAs, and PhD students.  Paul also served as a board member of 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