Long-term thinking, systems of intelligence, and the dangers of sloppy evidence.
Behavioral decision science

1. Long view → Better financial performance. A McKinsey Global Institute team sought hard evidence supporting their observation that “Companies deliver superior results when executives manage for long-term value creation,” resisting pressure to focus on quarterly earnings (think Amazon or Unilever). So MGI developed the corporate horizon index, or CHI, to compare performance by firms […]

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Papers We Love: Judgment Under Uncertainty / Cognitive Bias

Our founder, Tracy Allison Altman, will talk about cognitive bias and behavioral economics for software design @ Papers We Love – Denver. Tversky and Kahneman’s classic “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases” challenged conventional thinking about bias in decision making, inspiring new approaches to cognitive science, choice architecture, public policy, and the underlying technology. Join […]

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Value your gut, plus the perils of decision fatigue.
man tying necktie

1. “A gut is a personal, nontransferable attribute, which increases the value of a good one.” This classic from Harvard Business Review recaps how policy makers have historically made big decisions. It’s never just about the data. A Brief History of Decision Making. 2. A reminder to look for the nonobvious. This analysis examines differences […]

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“Big E” vs. “little e” evidence, and probabilistic thinking.
moneyball brad pitt photo

1. It’s tempting to think there’s a hierarchy for data: That evidence from high-quality experiments is on top at Level 1, and other research findings follow thereafter. But even in healthcare – the gold standard for the “gold standard” – it’s not that simple, says NICE in The NICE Way: Lessons for Social Policy and […]

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The lean way to present to decision makers. (This isn’t a TED talk.)

There’s plenty of advice about designing presentations. But little of it prepares you for delivering complex evidence to senior-level decision-makers. This should help. How might your evidence help someone understand the steps required to reach an important goal? 1. Put together lean evidence, embracing lean management concepts. As explained by the Lean Enterprise Institute, “The […]

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Underwriters + algorithms, avoiding bad choices, and evidence for rare illness.
heart rate monitor

1. Underwriters + algorithms = Best of both worlds. We hear so much about machine automation replacing humans. But several promising applications are designed to supplement complex human knowledge and guide decisions, not replace them: Think primary care physicians, policy makers, or underwriters. Leslie Scism writes in the Wall Street Journal that AIG “pairs its […]

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Algorithm reluctance, home-visit showdown, and the problem with wearables.
kitten on keyboard awww!

Yikes, evidence-based decisions are taking on water. Decision makers still resist handing the car keys to others, even when machines make better predictions. And government agencies continue to, ahem, struggle with making evidence-based policy.  — Tracy Altman, editor 1. Evidence-based home visit program loses funding. The evidence base has developed over 30+ years. Advocates for home visit programs […]

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False dichotomy: Data-driven vs. gut-feel
photo of people grouped together

Smart decision-making is more complicated than becoming ‘data-driven’, whatever that means exactly. We know people can make better decisions if they consider relevant evidence, and that process is getting easier. But too often tech enthusiasts dismiss people’s decisions as based on gut feel, as if data will save us from ourselves. Let’s put an end to […]

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Analytics teams need to be insight integrators.
storm troopers

1. Lori C. Bieda of SAS is spot on, describing how analytics professionals can grow into roles as trusted advisors for senior executives. In The Translation Layer: The Role of Analytic Talent, she explains that “Analytics teams… need to evolve from data providers into insight integrators.” Lots of detailed observations and recommendations in this white […]

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