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About Levers

I’m going to write a series of posts about the core elements of a decision model.  This one’s about Levers: simulations of things you can change as you make the decision.   We might also have called levers choices.

It can be confusing: you’d think that a decision model would produce the choices as output, not as input.  Because it’s supposed to tell us what decision to make, right?  But things are a little backwards: the right decision is the one for which the levers will set in motion a chain of events, that in the future will lead to a desired outcome.  So from this point of view, the action of a lever belongs at the beginning of a decision model, not the end. Continue reading

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Decision Intelligence in conflict and disaster recovery

In our years building decision intelligence models for domains like banking, telecom, and more, the project that I am most proud of is the work that we did for Liberia in collaboration with The Carter Center.

The basic idea: countries are complex systems. Understanding how to recover after a conflict or disaster can be a particular challenge. Decision makers often end up working accidentally at cross purposes, due to shared, but invisible, mental models of a situation. This often produces unintended negative consequences. Continue reading

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Why Decision Intelligence?

The greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century require that we do a better job of integrating people, processes, and technology. Whether we’re talking about how to distribute medicine and doctors to solve a health epidemic, or looking to reduce supply chain risk in a complex multinational organization, we must use computers, data, and our own judgment in unprecedented ways.

The good news is that there’s a simple way to think about how we can work together with data and other experts in complex situations. Continue reading

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