Weaponizing KPIs and debiasing decision algorithms.

1. Vigilance → Better algorithms “Eliminating bias… requires constant vigilance on the part of not only data scientists but up and down the corporate ranks.” In an insightful Information Week commentary, James Kobielus (@jameskobielus) considers the importance of Debiasing Our Statistical Algorithms Down to Their Roots. “Rest assured that AI, machine learning, and other statistical […]

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What cancer decision trees can teach us.
prostatecancerdecision.org

Suppose you’ve gotten a cancer diagnosis. Would your business experience help you navigate the care pathway? Larry Neal describes how he applied his Decision Analysis skills to prostate treatment in Eight Lessons from a Decision Professional’s Cancer Decision. When a physician said Neal had a 30% chance of having cancer, but his analysis suggested 95-99%, […]

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Debiasing is painful, why analytics fail, and health app evidence.

1. Debiasing → Better decisions Debiasing is hard work, requiring honest communication and occasional stomach upset. But it gets easier and can become a habit, especially if people have a systematic way of checking their decisions for bias. In this podcast and interview transcript, Nobel-winning Richard Thaler explains several practical ways to debias decisions. First, […]

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Building trust in the decision process.
Building trust in the decision process

How we decide is no less important than the data we use to decide. People are recognizing this and creating innovative ways to blend what, why, and how into decision processes. 1. Apply behavioral science → Less cognitive bias McKinsey experts offer excellent insight into Behavioral science in business: Nudging, debiasing, and managing the irrational […]

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Analytics translators wanted, algorithm vs. human, and winning with diversity.
data translators

1. Hire analytics translators → Keep data scientists happy An emerging role – what some call the Analytics Translator – is offloading burden from data scientists, while helping business executives get better value from their technology investments. A recent HBR piece explains You Don’t Have to Be a Data Scientist to Fill This Must-Have Analytics […]

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Cognitive bias in algorithms, baseball analytics denied, and soft skills ROI.
mexico-analytics-baseball-nytimes

1. Recognize bias → Create better algorithms Can we humans better recognize our biases before we turn the machines loose, fully automating them? Here’s a sample of recent caveats about decision-making fails: While improving some lives, we’re making others worse. Yikes. From HBR, Hiring algorithms are not neutral. If you set up your resume-screening algorithm […]

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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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Underwriters + algorithms, avoiding bad choices, and evidence for rare illness.
bad_choices_bookcover

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.

Hello there. We had to step away from the keyboard for awhile, but we’re back. And yikes, evidence-based decisions seem to be 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 […]

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Valuing patient perspective, moneyball for tenure, visualizing education impacts.

1. Formalized decision process → Conflict about criteria It’s usually a good idea to establish a methodology for making repeatable, complex decisions. But inevitably you’ll have to allow wiggle room for the unquantifiable or the unexpected; leaving this gray area exposes you to criticism that it’s not a rigorous methodology after all. Other sources of […]

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