Empty Shell Scenarios

July 4, 2010

The phoney hype from Shell on Scenarios

According to a long-time Shell insider, Shell’s famous scenarios never made a difference to decision making

http://shellbrand.blogspot.com/2008/01/phoney-hype-from-shell-on-scenarios.html


Phone Irrationality

June 6, 2010

From Warning on iPad bill shock

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn says the consumer advocacy group recently attempted to compare mobile phone plans and gave up.

“We declared it impossible to compare them,” he says.

Ms Freeman says the plans and the language used in them are too difficult to understand.

”So people are just going by their gut; they are going by whoever is the biggest provider; they are going by which provider has the cutest animal in their ad,” she says.

“It’s a deliberate strategy to make things difficult – a rational human being cannot choose a mobile phone plan at the moment.”


More analysis please

September 22, 2009

“The problems that we face today, both big ones in society like the current health care debate and smaller ones like strategic business decisions, do not exist because we lack information, but because we don’t understand it. They can be solved only by developing skills and tools to make sense of information that is often complex. In other words, the major obstacle to solving modern problems isn’t the lack of information, solved by acquiring it, but the lack of understanding, solved by analytics.”

Stephen Few, http://www.perceptualedge.com/blog/?p=621


Yep, it sounds very familiar

September 8, 2009

from In Search of Tools to Aid Logical Thinking and Communicating about Medical Decision Making, by M. G. MYRIAM HUNINK, MD, PhD Med Decis Making 2001;21:267–27

In Search of Tools to Aid Logical Thinking and
Communicating about Medical Decision Making
M. G. MYRIAM HUNINK, MD, PhD

“The discussions always seem to go along the same lines: Dr. Smith says that he feels that treatment X is the right thing to do because he recently read a paper that mentioned that X was beneficial; Dr. Johnson counters that X has a substantial risk associated with it, as was shown in the paper published last year in the world’s highest ranking journal in the field, and should therefore not be considered; and Dr. Gray says that given the current limited budget in the department, maybe we should consider a less expensive alternative or no treatment at all. After talking around in circles for about 10 to 15 minutes, with each doctor reiterating his or her opinion and new facts popping up from time to time, the professor of vascular surgery finally stops the discussion, realizing that his fellows are getting irritated because they have work to do. Practical chores are waiting. And so the professor concludes, “Okay. So it seems we should be doing treatment X.” About 40% of those involved in the decision-making process nod their heads in agreement, another 40% start bringing up objections (which get stifled quickly by the fellows who really don’t want an encore), and the remaining 20% of those involved are either too tired or too flabbergasted to respond or are optimizing another goal in life, namely, job security.  Does this sound familiar?”

Illustrates how medical experts have the same problems with deliberative decision as everyone else.


Design the decision process

August 31, 2009

From John Sviokla:

“In our world of information overload, every new choice is an effort — so companies need to give as much thought to the process of choice as to those choices and options themselves. For instance, Dan noticed that the Economist, at one time, showed three options for their potential subscribers: online-only for $59.00, print-only for $125.00, or online and print for $125.00. He designed an experiment, using his students, in which 84% chose the $125.00 for print and online, 0% chose print-only, and only 16% chose online-only. Any rational manager would say the $125.00 offer print-only offer was useless. But when Dan removed the $125.00 print-only offer, 68% of people bought the online product for $59.00 while only 32% shelled out for the $125.00 bundle! In other words, the higher-priced option was chosen less than half as often. By having the decoy of $125.00 for print-only, the customer could make an easy comparison to the other $125.00 offer in which they got online for “free.” Even something as simple as choosing a magazine has enough complexity in it that a decoy choice can radically change buyer behavior…Every manager should remember that in a world of excess choice, an easy place to differentiate is in the careful design of the decision process itself.”


Mixing emotion and logic

August 30, 2009

“In his book How We Decide (Houghton Mifflin, 2009), Jonah Lehrer describes what research in the field of neuroscience is revealing about the peculiar blend of logic and emotion that leads to superior decisions and why human beings struggle with getting the mix right. “Ironically, it’s those moments when emotions seem most persuasive—when the brain is completely convinced that it’s time to go all in—that you should take a little extra time to reflect,” Lehrer writes. “Make yourself consider alternative possibilities and scenarios.””

Snippet from a snippet


Balance of Reason, and role of intuition

May 25, 2009

“On balance, one must weigh up the pros and cons, look at the data, and then use intuition where there is missing data. It is difficult to move very far in leadership without having intuition, without being able to go by gut feeling. At some point the data is not there; that is when you will need to make a decision that is difficult.”

Terry Corby, Senior Executive, Accenture

http://www.managers.org.uk/client_files/user_files/PetrookM/Text%20for%20Micro-site.pdf


Roosevelt on doing something

February 4, 2008

“In any moment of decision, the best thing
you can do is the right thing; the next best thing is the wrong thing;
and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

— Theodore Roosevelt 26th President of the U.S.

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The Cult of Committee

August 2, 2007

The Cult of Committee by Barbara Kiviat in Time Magazine.

Interesting piece on group decision making in an investment firm.

  • “There are a zillion independent variables, and it’s very hard for one person to think about them all.”
  • “When an analyst thinks a company is something Dodge & Cox would be
    well advised to hold for five years, the analyst makes the case to an
    investment-policy committee.”
  • “It’s not a strict vote…The process…is like
    taking the temperature of the room.”
  • “That ability to make complex strategic decisions collectively requires
    an almost Benedictine devotion to corporate togetherness, starting with
    physical space.”
  • “Dodge & Cox has also found there to be an important structural
    element to team decision making. “Committees react best to a specific
    proposition,” says Bryan Cameron, director of research and a member of
    the committees that pick domestic and foreign stocks. So when analysts
    make a presentation, they propose a particular course of
    action–increasing the percentage of Wal-Mart from 2% of the portfolio
    to 2.2%, say. The analyst advocates, and the committee
    meditates–somewhat like a jury.”

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