Virtual Decision-Modelling Workshops for Creating the Future
SDP Free Webinar
Speaker: Larry Phillips, Prof. Emeritus, London School of Economics, and Director, Facilitations Ltd.
Moderator: Alberto Franco, Professor, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK.
Feb 10, 2021 at 8:00 am PT / 11:00 am ET
The aim of this talk is to describe how a group of experts can work collaboratively to create a decision-analytic model that will help individuals facing difficult issues to agree what to do next. I will begin by describing the simplest form of the decision conferencing process: a meeting of a leader and his or her expert advisors, facilitated by a decision analyst working as a process consultant to create a model of the issues during the meeting. Extensive on-the-spot sensitivity analyses that deal with imprecision in the data and differences of opinion, prompt changes to create a base model. The group then considers different scenarios about the future, alter the model’s inputs, and discuss the new results, which help the group to construct robust narratives about the future.
I’ll illustrate the decision conferencing process with a published case study about the harms of psychoactive drugs. This shows the importance of participants’ mental models for interpreting available data and for making judgements about values and probabilities when data are absent, two features I have found are typical of models about future effects. I’ll also draw on a study of managing radioactive waste in the UK to show how deep uncertainty about long-term future events can be dealt with by judgements of preference values and criteria weights without any assessments of probability.
These case studies illustrate how decision conferencing can enable a group of experts to achieve a shared understanding of the issues (though not necessarily consensus), a sense of common purpose (while preserving individual differences of opinion) and a commitment to the way forward (though accepting participants’ differences in the paths). In short, everyone pulling in the same direction.
Dr Lawrence Phillips is an Emeritus Professor of Decision Science, at the London School of Economics, and a Director of Facilitations Limited. His research publications span behavioural decision theory, decision and risk analysis, Bayesian statistics, cultural differences in dealing with uncertainty, group processes, and the benefit-risk balance of drugs.
For organisations facing difficult decisions, he works as a process consultant, assisting individuals and teams dealing to arrive at an agreed way forward. He applies a wide variety of approaches to issues of strategic and operational management, option evaluation, prioritisation, resource allocation, and crisis management, with organisations in the public, private, and voluntary sectors.
Prof. Alberto Franco is a decision scientist with more than 20 years of experience as a researcher and consultant to organizations such as Bombardier, Whitbread, Network Rail, Defra and the World Health Organization. His research examines how human behaviour affects, or is affected by, the use of designed decision processes and tools, and his work has been published in, among others, British Journal of Management, European Journal of Operational Research, Group Decision and Negotiation, The Leadership Quarterly, and Risk Analysis.