Value your gut, plus the perils of decision fatigue.
“Big E” vs. “little e” evidence, and probabilistic thinking.
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 […]
Underwriters + algorithms, avoiding bad choices, and evidence for rare illness.
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 […]
Algorithm reluctance, home-visit showdown, and the problem with wearables.
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 […]
Analytics teams need to be insight integrators.
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 […]
Don’t show me the evidence. Show me how you weighed the evidence.
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 […]
‘What Works’ toolkit, the insight-driven organization, and peer-review identity fraud.
Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that if people just had access to all the relevant data, then the right decision – and better outcomes – would surely follow. Of course we know that’s not the case. A number of things block a clear path from evidence to decision to outcome. Evidence can’t speak for […]
What counts as good evidence? Alliance for Useful Evidence offers food for thought.
1. Abundant evidence → Clever synthesis → Informed crime-prevention decisions The What Works Crime Toolkit beautifully synthesizes – on a single screen – the evidence on crime-prevention techniques. This project by the UK’s @CollegeofPolice provides quick answers to what works (the car breathalyzer) and what doesn’t (the infamous “Scared Straight” programs). Includes easy-to-use filters for […]
Watson isn’t thinking, business skills for data scientists, and zombie clickbait.
“What counts as good evidence?” is a great conversation starter. The UK-based Alliance for Useful Evidence / Nesta offers seminars and publications to “explore what is realistic in terms of standards of evidence for social policy, programmes and practice.” Prompting discussion was a ‘provocation paper’, What Counts as Good Evidence?, by Sandra Nutley, Alison Powell, […]
Valuing patient perspective, moneyball for tenure, visualizing education impacts.
1. Evidence scoring → Cognitive computing → Thinking? Fantastic article comparing Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson – and smart analysis to cognitive computing. This must-read by Paul Levy asks if scoring evidence and ranking hypotheses are the same as thinking. 2. Data science understanding → Business relevance → Career success In HBR, Michael Li describes […]
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 […]