Evaluate your decision process separately from your outcomes.
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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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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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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‘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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Randomistas fight poverty, nurses improve youth outcomes, and decision support struggles.

1. Jason Zweig tells the story of randomistas, who use randomized, controlled trials to pinpoint what helps people become self-sufficient around the globe. The Anti-Poverty Experiment describes several successful, data-driven programs, ranging from financial counseling to grants of livestock. 2. Can an early childhood program prevent child abuse, crime, drug abuse, and neglect? Yes, says […]

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Equity crowdfunding algorithms, decision-making competitions, and statistical wild geese.

1. CircleUp uses algorithm to evaluate consumer startups. Recently we wrote about #fintech startups who are challenging traditional consumer lending models. CircleUp is doing something similar to connect investors with non-tech consumer startups (food, cosmetics, recreation). It’s not yet a robo adviser for automated investing, but they do use machine learning to remove drudgery from […]

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What counts as good evidence? Alliance for Useful Evidence offers food for thought.

“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, […]

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ROI from evidence-based government, milking data for cows, and flu shot benefits diminishing.

1. Evidence standards → Knowing what works → Pay for success Susan Urahn says we’ve reached a Tipping Point on Evidence-Based Policymaking. She explains in @Governing that 24 US governments have directed $152M to programs with an estimated $521M ROI: “an innovative and rigorous approach to policymaking: Create an inventory of currently funded programs; review […]

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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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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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