The Means-Ends Problem Solving Technique

MEA (Means-Ends Analysis) is an a approach that puts together aspects of both forward and backward reasoning in that both the condition and action portions of rules are considered when we decide which rules to apply. The logic of the process takes into account the gap between the current situation and the desired goal – where we wish to get to and proposes actions in order to close the gap between the [...]

Be more critical and critique what people say

To a large extent in the academic and business world things move forward by a thorough critique of the existing body of knowledge or by taking apart the position people take on a particular issue (usually in hindsight). Often very strong positions are held based on very shaky ground and expertise claimed based on little supporting evidence. I think it is always interesting when you look at a newspaper report or an article in the trade press one can always determine the authors own position vis a vis the issue being discussed as well as the position they take in the field of knowledge they are [...]

The Ten Commandments in Risk Reduction

Risk reduction in decision making comes down to two main considerations: Increasing our knowledge of the problem by such techniques as soft systems engineering, SODA or any of the many tools that enable us to gain a foothold on the nature of the issue and dealing with the uncertainly of the risk. Here is a simple approach that puts some rigour in our thinking when it comes to breaking down a complex problem and deciding what to do [...]

Shark week on Discovery Channel Begins on 2nd August

Apparently when the Discovery Channel broadcasts ‘Shark Week’ this year it starts on August the 2nd visits to Florida beaches decline dramatically. Presumably, the Discovery’s programing makes the waters no less safe (I hope). However, after watching a week of kicking legs seen from a shark’s eye perspective from below, the idea of shark attack is refreshed in our minds and we choose not to offer ourselves as [...]

Why men cannot think straight in the presence of an attractive woman

I suppose many read the story the other week about research that showed men who spend even a few minutes in the company of a very attractive woman perform less well in cognitive tests designed to measure brain function. Apparently when men are intensely focused on an attractive female such is the extent that cognitive resources are used up that it is almost impossible to think of anything [...]

The Buriden's Ass ‘method’ of decision making

The Buriden’s Ass ‘method’ of decision making is used when two or more equally attractive alternatives exist and it is difficult to make a choice. It is of course based on the old fable of Buriden’s Ass, who starved to death because he was tethered halfway between two equally large and succulent piles of [...]

People prefer cash back or a free gift to wild discounts

When we make consumer decisions we often ignore the wild discounts and factor them into the price. 50% discounts from a sofa warehouse become the base price we no longer see the ‘full’ price anymore. We prefer getting something for nothing and prospect theory tells us why – even though the economic value may be the same we regard a cash back as a real win. So rather than a $2000 discount on a car a cheque in the post a month later for $2000 is always [...]

What makes a good decision maker – the three ingredients

Decision-making is an age old problem that is being compounded today by increasing knowledge, population, complexity, speed and change. The number of decisions being made is increasing as is the pace of change and the number of people in an organization involved in the thousands of day-to-day decisions, from a new product launch to a decision on a new hire that have to be [...]

Just sleep on it and make better decisions

I suppose many have read about recent research led by a leading expert on the benefits of napping at the University of California that suggests that Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep enhances creative problem-solving. At last now when I get caught sleeping on the job I have the perfect [...]

Bees show the way to making good decisions

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I read with interest an article in the Sunday paper this week on the assertion that Bees ‘Decision Making Strategy’ (sic) could help the business world to come to more informed decisions.

Apparently swarms send out ‘scouts’ to assess the quality of a potential site for a hive. The insects then report [...]