Don’t show me the evidence. Show me how you weighed the evidence.
calculator saying I don't Know

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 […]

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‘What Works’ toolkit, the insight-driven organization, and peer-review identity fraud.

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 […]

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Watson isn’t thinking, business skills for data scientists, and zombie clickbait.

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 […]

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

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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Inspire people with insights, Part 2.
photo of penguin navel-gazing

To be inspired, your audience needs to see how findings are reliable and relevant. Part 1 talked about creating practical checklists to ensure data-driven research is reproducible. This post describes how to deliver results that resonate with your audience. It’s nice when people review analytical findings, think “Hmmm, interesting,” and add the link to bitly. […]

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Game theory for Jeopardy!, evidence for gun control, and causality.

1. Deep knowledge → Wagering strategy → Jeopardy! win Some Jeopardy! contestants struggle with the strategic elements of the show. Rescuing us is Keith Williams (@TheFinalWager), with the definitive primer on Jeopardy! strategy, applying game theory to every episode and introducing “the fascinating world of determining the optimal approach to almost anything”. 2. Gun controls […]

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Building trust with evidence-based insights.

  This week we examine how executives can more fully grasp complex evidence/analysis affecting their outcomes – and how analytics professionals can better communicate these findings to executives. Better performance and more trust are the payoffs. 1. Show how A → B. Our new guide to Promoting Evidence-Based Insights explains how to engage stakeholders with […]

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5 practical ways to build an evidence-based social program.
evidence-based social innovation

Recent developments in evidence-based decision making in the nonprofit/social sector. Practical ways to discover and exchange evidence-based insights. References, resources, and links to organizations with innovative programs. Data-Driven is No Longer Optional Whether you’re the funder or the funded, data-driven management is now mandatory. Evaluations and decisions must incorporate rigorous methods, and evidence review is […]

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Inspire people with insights, Part 1.

When presenting findings, it’s essential to show their reliability and relevance. Today’s post discusses how to show your evidence is reproducible; next week in Part 2, we’ll cover how to show it’s relevant. Show that your insights are reproducible. With complexity on the rise, there’s no shortage of quality problems with traditional research: People are […]

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How to present like a boss.
man tying necktie

1. Present controversial evidence with just one slide. Throw out your slide deck and try the Extreme Presentation method, developed by Andrew Abela and Paul Radich during years of presentations at Procter & Gamble, McKinsey, and other leading companies. The technique involves first showing the audience the big-picture concept so they’ll immediately have a sense […]

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